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The MC (Master of Ceremonies) is introducing the guest of honor. He tells of his background, relating also his achievements and reputation. Obviously, he expects the crowd to be informed about and appreciative of such a storied speaker. Finally, the MC brings his introduction to a climax by inviting applause and a warm welcome: “Please, let’s give it up for . . . !”

Jonathan was the son of King Saul, not an MC. He normally would have been heir to the throne of Israel, with all the perks associated with royalty. Jonathan surely knew that David was anointed to be king after Saul, and might have resented the man who would prevent him from becoming king of Israel.

Yet Jonathan did something truly remarkable, almost unbelievable. “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” (1 Samuel 18: 3-4 KJV) Jonathan’s action was remarkable, for he willingly and gladly gave up to David everything that attested to his own princely status. He was more interested in having David as a friend than in contesting for a throne. Jealously, pride, selfishness, status, and power-he forsook it all. He gave it all up for David.

Moreover, the covenant relationship between the two friends was surely based on respect for David and genuine brotherly love. Jonathan gave up selfish love for a selfless love that can only be present when one walks by the Spirit. He was a perfect example of that kind of grace that rejoices in the will of God and the love of a dear friend.

We might be reminded of John the Baptist. At one point John had been the man in Israel, drawing huge crowds. Yet of the Lord John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John was the forerunner of the Messiah, and in introducing Jesus could well have said, “Let’s give it up for ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29) John’s message was one of repentance. Give up your sins and heart to Jesus, and He will give you forgiveness, spiritual life, and true righteousness. Believe in Him Who is the very Son of God and give it up for Him-your respect and thanks, your trust and love. For with such He has made a covenant of grace and friendship.

Saint Paul gave it up to the Lord to such a degree that he said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

Yet by our sinful nature, humans are loath to give up our status. It’s a daily battle to give up on self-righteousness and self-love. It’s hard to let go of pet sins. Yet the Lord and His Spirit say to give it up. Give up sin and self, and rejoice to serve as a humble slave in the kingdom of God. As you do, give up all honor and glory to the Triune God Who created, redeemed, and sanctifies you.

We might as well get used to so giving it up. For in heaven we might well hear the appeal, “Saints in the Lord; Let’s give it up for the Lamb Who sits on the throne! Let’s give it up for our great Savior-God!” Saint John heard heaven resounding, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7: 12) “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!'” (Revelation 19:1) Holy, give-it-up saints of the Lord can hardly say otherwise!

David Fuerstenau is a retired pastor. He lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.