The spare heir – of 1984
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The world is focused once again on a hospital entry door in England.  Kate Middleton is going to give her country another heir to the throne.  But this baby will be considered the “spare heir.”  Prince George, who was born two years ago, is most likely the future king of England.  It has been thirty-one years since Prince Harry was born and labeled the “spare heir.”

England has been consumed with baby predictions.  Will they have a prince or princess?  What day will the baby be born?  What will the baby be named?  Prince William is home on paternity leave and doesn’t return back to work until June.  It is always exciting when a new baby is on the way.

As I write, I am sad that Princess Diana is not here to share the excitement.  She would have cherished her grandchildren just like we cherish ours.  I’m sorry that George and his new sibling won’t have the chance to know her.  I think this baby will probably be very special to Uncle Harry, the other spare heir.  Harry might be the one to teach this new prince or princess how to handle the national focus that will exist each day.

Prince Harry grew up in a much different world than the new spare heir will be born into.  A lot has changed since 1984.  These are just a few things that marked the year Harry was born:

Gas was $1.10 per gallon.
The average cost of a home in Los Angeles was $86,730.
Apple put its first Macintosh on sale.
It cost $2.50 to buy a ticket to Ghostbusters or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
A new, tricked out Corvette cost $23, 390.
Apples cost 43 cents per pound.
The Los Angeles Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII
The favorite commercials were the “Where’s the Beef” ads by Wendy’s.
Vanessa Williams won Miss America but was “dethroned” after ten months because of her Penthouse Magazine photos.
Women wore shoulder pads and big hair because the stars on Dallas and Dynasty set the fashion trends in those days.
CD players were introduced and the world was amazed to hear twenty songs on a device at a single time.
And Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose showed the world that a preacher could learn to forgive the sin of dancing.

How old were you in 1984?  Time flies when you are busy living, doesn’t it?  I wonder what the world will look like the next time a “spare heir” is born?  How much will apples cost then?  What capabilities will Apple computers have at that time?  Which child, yet to be born, will be the winning quarterback of the Super Bowl?  Will tunic tops and leggings be considered “retro chic” by the fashion industry?  What will a preacher’s sermon sound like?  Will God’s word have been compromised or will it be taught as pure truth?

One thing is certain.  Whatever the culture looks like a few decades from now, God will remain the same.  This week I taught my last lesson in the Minor Prophets.  I was especially struck by a passage that was written to God’s people, imploring them to restore their culture to God’s standards.  The people were going to the temple and crying because life had become difficult and they felt like God had let them down.  The prophet identified the problem: God had not been able to bless their substandard culture of faith.  They had grown apathetic and believed that they were entitled to God’s blessings, regardless of their commitment.  In many ways, the culture that Malachi spoke to reminds me of our own.

I found these verses to be particularly interesting.  Malachi 3:6-7 says, “‘I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.  Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

God doesn’t change.  As I think about the spare heir and the culture that baby is being born into I realize that much has changed since 1984 and much will change in the future.  God, however, will be exactly the same.  He will bless everything he is able to bless and our promise is the same promise the culture of Malachi’s day received.  “Return to me, and I will return to you.”   

Who will seek God’s blessing thirty years from now?  Let’s return to God so he can use us to help answer that question.

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