January 1, 2021

January 2021 Viewpoint

Riding as a passenger in a small van around Nigeria in early 2002 was an adventure. From Abuja we drove north to Jos and back again. Another trek took us from Port Harcourt to Aba to Ikot Enwang and finally to Lagos. During our hours-long road trips, I was comfortably seated behind the driver, taking in sites that were new to me. Our pace varied from swift in the sparsely inhabited countryside, to slow in the densely populated villages, to a standstill in the Lagos gridlock. I enjoyed capturing every moment.

As we journeyed, I was aware of a young man squeezed between suitcases, half-seated and half-reclined behind me. The sun was beating through the back window upon him. He must be really hot, I thought. Besides benefiting from his help in managing our luggage, our entire entourage and congregations numbering in the thousands were blessed by his rich baritone solos. I learned much later that in addition to his superb musical skills and holding a degree in Mathematics, Tony Ademuyiwa was the son of a king. Wow, it does not seem like a prince should be the one scrunched uncomfortably in the back of a van.

The first time I ever met a king was on that same trip (though it was not Brother Tony’s father, who had passed away in 1999). The royal encounter was both intimidating and surprising. As a guest in his court, I was escorted to a seat beside him. I did not blend in well; I wore a suit while the king wore a robe and crown, and brandished a scepter. How was one to act around a real king? What should one say? I was not sure. Thankfully, he broke the ice. During a moment of silence in the midst of the welcoming ceremony, he turned my way and inquired, “How’s it going?” Startled (not having expected the king to speak to me at all, let alone in a casual manner), I briefly replied, “Very well, and how are you?” He was fine. The conversation was short, but that king’s courtesy to this awkward stranger made a memorable impression.

Considering the honor and prestige that is normally afforded to royalty, what brought someone like Brother Tony from growing up in the luxury of a palace to the discomfort of traveling in the back of a minivan? You will have to read his testimony to learn the details, but it centers on the day in 1982 when he became a child of the King of kings. He declares that God accomplished in a moment of time what his disciplinarian, kingly father could not accomplish in seventeen years—a change of heart. After that, rather than following the traditions of his earthly family, Brother Tony’s life was patterned after the King who made Himself poor that we might become rich.

While most of us lack the palace experience, once we are saved we share a common royal spiritual lineage in Christ. Hattie Buell wrote in her 1877 hymn, “With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.”1 In her words, each of us is “an heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.” Despite any discomfort in our current circumstances, Jesus promises us a bright and hopeful future. James 2:5 says we are “heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him.” It is our prayer that every reader of this magazine will both experience and appreciate being royalty in the eyes of the Lord.

1 “A Child of the King” by Harriet E. Buell is in the Public Domain.

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