King Canute IV was one of the most powerful men on earth in the eleventh century. As ruler of Denmark he controlled most of Europe and was planning an invasion of England until he was assassinated by rebels who were tired of high taxes.
In a now famous tale, it is said that Canute once ordered his chair to be placed on the shore as the tide was rising. Then he commanded the sea, “You are subject to me, I command you, therefore, not to rise on to my land, nor to wet the clothing or limbs of your master.” But the tide continued to rise, drenching the king’s feet.
This story is often told to draw attention to Canute’s pride, but actually, it’s a story about humility. For Canute goes on to say, “Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty, save Him by whose will heaven, earth and sea obey”.
I’m reminded of the story in Matthew 8 where Jesus’ fearful disciples awaken Him in the midst of a fierce storm. Jesus first chastises His disciples for their lack of faith and then takes of the waves. “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26). The disciples are amazed and ask “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:27)
At times pride may overtake us and we begin to think we are really something. Like Canute, we need to go stand on the seashore and remind ourselves that we’re not as great or as powerful as we may think. At other times we may feel like the wind and the waves are going to overtake us. It’s good to know that we have one in our boat, and in our lives who can say, “Peace, be still” and bring instant calm. As someone has said, “GOD IS GREAT, WE ARE SMALL AND THAT IS GOOD”
Have a great week!
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