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Servant Queen, Sacrificial Sovereign

By Mark Greene | 11 May 2016 | Comments (1)

 The Servant Queen and the King She Serves - Mark Greene LICC

True generosity is not a gesture but a way of life. And when it comes to generous living it seems to me that one of the world’s great exemplars is Queen Elizabeth.  But we’ll come to that.

She is the most photographed woman in the world and probably the most admired as well. Family, friends, celebrities, heads of state, people she’s met at events – all of them testify to her grace, her warmth, her amazing ability to give each person her full attention – even at the end of a long day shaking many hands. And quite apart from her poise on public occasions she has done the most remarkable job for country and commonwealth – a great ambassador for British trade and a tireless worker for understanding and reconciliation among nations that might otherwise have long severed cordial ties with one another, and indeed with Britain.

How has she done it? And why has she done it the way she has?

Interestingly, she has told us the answer. We may not know what the Queen thinks about a whole host of things but we do know what shapes her understanding of her job, what resources her for it and what frames the view of human purpose and citizenship she has consistently sought to model and summon her people to.  It is all deeply rooted in her trust in, and imitation of, Christ. So in her Christmas address in 2014, she said:

“For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.”


Sacrifice and service are themes she returns to repeatedly. So in 2012, we not only hear echoes of Mark 10:10, we hear a clear summons to imitate Christ:


“This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ."


Earlier in 1980, she was both direct about neighbourly duty and clear about the cost:


“In difficult times we may be tempted to find excuses for self-indulgence and to wash our hands of responsibility. Christmas stands for the opposite... we need to go out and look for opportunities to help those less fortunate than ourselves, even if that service demands sacrifice.”


Behind this lies a clear vision of the kind of nation she would like to see. It is one marked by kindness and a deep commitment to one’s neighbour. Importantly, though she quotes the Parable of the Good Samaritan more than any other text, for Elizabeth neighbourly love goes beyond spontaneous acts of generosity. We best love our neighbours by offering our best gifts whatever they are – talents, competencies, energy, resources – in the service of others.


Jesus gave his best and his all for us. And that is quite clearly what Queen Elizabeth has done. She has given her life to serving us out of a loving devotion to God. And there is no gift more generous than that. Praise be to God.


Read more like this:

The Generosity of our Testimony

The Facets of Generosity: Why Our Love Languages Matter

Book Now for our 2016 Generosity Retreats! 

Posted by Mark Greene

Executive Director, LICC

As chief vision-caster Mark is always looking for fresh ways to inspire people with a grasp of the gospel and its implications for the whole of life. His role is hugely varied – one day delivering an inspirational talk, on another day spending time with key leaders, and on yet another he’ll be feverishly penning a new book. He does a reasonable imitation of Rowan Atkinson and a terrible one of Sean Connery, making his wife wish it were the other way round and his children wish he wouldn't do either. He also loves reading, dancing and people.

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Eve Horridge

May 16, 2016 1:20 PM
I m thrilled to know that the sales orf The Servant Queen are now up to 600,000 copies. I am a member of a smallish Baptist Church. We recently had a Community Day and gave away copies to visitors. Our Mums and Toddlers Group plan a celebration of the Queen's Birthday where all the parents will be presented with copies. A Church Member is hosting a celebratory event at her over 50's reitirement complex and plans to give copies to all the residents on that day. What a wonderful and unique opportunity for us to share the secret of our Queen's "Happy and Glorious" reign. After all if we Christians don't offer the book to them then who will?

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