In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big wedding on today in the United Kingdom. It’s an event that will see Prince Harry, the sixth in line to the British throne, wedded to Meghan Markle, an American actress best known for her seven-year stint portraying Rachel Zane on the legal drama Suits. To say that the media has taken an interest in the couple would be a massive understatement.
If you’ve been following all the hullabaloo surrounding the royal wedding, you might have noticed a few media outlets reporting on the “sacrifices” that Meghan Markle will have to make as she officially joins the royal family.
Firstly, Markle will have to give up her burgeoning acting career in exchange for her royal duties. Once she is married to Prince Harry, she will likely be spending her time supporting him on diplomatic visits and undertaking philanthropic efforts, as many of the royals do.
There are heavier sacrifices to be made. In abiding to royal conventions, Markle has deleted all her social media accounts, including her Instagram and personal blog. According to an InStyle report, there was a sense of uneasiness surrounding the idea of a candid and personal social media account run by a member of the royal family. One glance across the pond at a certain Presidential social media account should easily explain the trepidation.
As a result, Markle’s social media presence has been limited to the official Kensington Palace Instagram account (@kensingtonroyal); if you’re a social media addict, look away now–she’ll have to share that account with her husband, as well as her future brother and sister-in-law.
And if that’s not painful enough, brace yourself, because Markle’s biggest sacrifice has been Bogart, her beloved lab-shepherd rescue pup who’s been left behind in Toronto as Markle made the move to Kensington Palace. You only need to do a quick Google image search to realize the gravity of her sacrifice.
It should be obvious by now that Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry requires her to give up her personal identity that she’s worked hard to curate and develop throughout her career as a celebrity, in exchange for a life that seemingly leaves little room for personal expression. Does this sound similar to the struggles that we face as Christians at the point of conversion?
Matthew 16:24 makes it clear to us that the Christian life is one of denying ourselves and giving up whatever is necessary in order to follow Jesus. There is no aspect of our lives that is off-limits to Jesus.
For example, denying ourselves might mean refusing to compromise on our values in the workplace, even at the cost of a promotion. It could mean risking ridicule and being ostracized by our friends when we share about the Gospel. It may even require us to finally pay for a Netflix subscription instead of illegally downloading that movie.
The decision to follow Jesus is not one that we’re meant to take lightly, and Jesus urges us to count the cost. We’re meant to consider what we’re leaving behind. But hopefully it’s in counting the cost that we realize just how much we have to gain from adoption into God’s family.
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and Pearl (Matthew 13:44-45) give us a reminder of the accounting to be had:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
These two parables cast our “sacrifices” into perspective. While most people might look at the Christian life and see only what we have to give up, the parables remind us that we’re called to look at what we’ve gained instead. When we do so, we will then understand the true value of what we’re entering into and find the same joy that the man in the Parable of the Hidden Treasure had. That’s when we’ll see that it truly is worthwhile to sell everything for the treasure of being a child of God.
After all, being a Christian means we are brought into an intimate and loving relationship with the God of the universe. While we were previously seen as “God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10), we can now come to Him in prayer as His children, having full confidence that our heavenly Father hears us. What’s more, we also have the certainty of our resurrection and a place in the new heaven and earth, where the troubles of this life will cease. The magnitude of this can’t be overstated.
Similarly, it is Markle’s perspective of what she’s entering into that enables her to joyfully trade her former life for this new one. In a BBC interview the couple gave after announcing their engagement, Markle batted away suggestions that she was sacrificing her career for her marriage. Instead she viewed it as a change, and a new chapter. For Markle, being able to spend the rest of her life with Prince Harry is an exciting prospect, worth all that she’s given up.
May we also see that what we’ve lost in denying ourselves and following Jesus is made worthwhile because of everything we’ll gain from being in God’s family.