One of the games played by youth in Bolivia is called El Rey Pide. It means, “The King Asks.” In this game, one child is selected to be the “king” and sit in a special place of honor at one end of the room. The rest of the youth are divided into two teams of the king’s “subjects”, seated at the opposite side of the room. The “king” would scan the room with his eyes, keenly watching his “subjects..” Then he would pronounce, “El Rey pide…el cuaderno!” (The king asks for the notebook.) With great haste someone from each team would eagerly rush to find a notebook and bring it to the king. The first one to reach him “wins” that round. The game continues with several “el Rey pide” requests, each met with the enthusiastic response of the king’s subjects who are ever so eager to please their king. When we visited the Bolivian school where our Compassion child attends, they chose our sponsored child, Daniela, to take the place of honor and the game proceeded as “La Reina pide” (“The queen asks.”) We enjoyed watching the children laugh and play the game, each eager to please their “lord.”
Imagine if you were a great king looking down on the kingdom of this world. What would you see as your eyes roamed throughout your kingdom? Without doubt, your eyes would fall upon some always working ever diligently to build great monuments. You’d find others basking in the sun or consumed with their hobbies and games. You’d observe that some live in sumptuous comfort while others are scurrying around trying to scratch out a meager existence and merely survive.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a
Indeed, there is a king whose eyes are always upon us. What do you think he is searching for and what do you expect he finds? He is looking for those are fully committed, sold out, “all in the game”, devoted to the singular purpose of doing what the King asks and being the people they were called to be.
And what does the King ask? Qué pide El Rey? He asks us simply to be his people and to invite others into the protection of his kingdom. Love God and love others in his name. Feed the hungry, care for the sick, and visit those in prison. Be fully involved in his purpose, not distracted by other games and pursuits. When you think about it, it’s not really as complicated as we sometimes make it to be.
But we read about wars and senseless shootings, about teachers and leaders who bring deception. It seems the world is filled with earthquakes, famines and disease, and even the persecution of believers. The King sees this. In fact he foresaw it and described it in Luke 21. He told us then and reminds us now to be careful that our hearts not become weighed down with dissipation (drunkenness, sexual debauchery, and the squandering of money and resources). The king cautions us to not be worn out with anxieties. And the king asks, “Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.” (Luke 21:36)
The King is watching. His eyes range throughout the earth to see who is fully committed to him, not just playing a game. He sees your faithful heart. His eyes do not miss your mournful cry. He takes notice of your weakness and sickness. And he looks to strengthen and encourage you in the hard places of your life. Be encouraged as you commit to responding to what the King asks. And be always on the watch yourself so you can encourage others also.