Marcus Aurelius - Lessons On Kingship

Along the way, you will meet many leaders and some will be in high-level leadership positions. To minister to leaders successfully, you need Kingdom training. This brings me to an example of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was no Christian by any means, but he was trained to be a king.

 Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161AD to 180AD. He was the last of the “Five Good Empe­rors”. He was mentored for his kingly position by various teachers. The following is some of his personal notes (abridged) describing what he learned from his assorted mentors. The Apostle Paul would have met similar highly educated teachers when he ministered the Gospel in Athens (Acts 17). You may too. Let’s see what Aurelius thought of his teachers and what he learned from them.

From my grandfather Verus, I learned good morals and the government (control) of my temper.

From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty (freedom from conceit) and a manly character.

 From my mother, piety (reverence) and beneficence (kindness), and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.

From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things (education) a man should spend liberally.

From my governor, to be neither of the green nor of the blue party at the games in the Circus, nor a partisan either of the Parmularius or the Scutarius at the gladiators' fights; from him too I learned endurance of labor (hard work), and to want little, and to work with my own hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, and not to be ready to listen to slander.

 From Diognetus, not to busy myself about trifling things, and not to give credit to what was said by (false) miracle-workers and jugglers about incantations and the driving away of daemons and such things. Not to breed quails for fighting, nor to give myself up passionately to such things, to endure freedom of speech. From Diognetus as well I learned to become intimate with philosophy (rational investigation).

From Rusticus, I received the impression that my character required improvement and discipline. He taught me to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book, nor (hastily) to give my assent to those who talk too much. 

From Apollonius, I learned the freedom of will and the undeviating steadiness of purpose, and to look to nothing else---not even for a moment---except to reason. I learned always to be the same, even in sharp pains, for example, on the occasion of the loss of a child or when ill for a long time.

From Sextus, I acquired a benevolent disposition, and the example of a family governed in a fatherly manner. I learned to be serious without affectation, and to look carefully after the interests of friends, and to tolerate ignorant persons, and those who form opinions without thinking.

From Alexander, the grammarian (linguist), I learned to refrain from fault-finding, and not in a reproachful way chide those who uttered any barbarous or (socially awkward) or strange-sounding expression.

From Fronto, I learned to observe what envy and duplicity and hypocrisy are in a tyrant and that generally those among us who are called Patricians (Aristocrats )are rather deficient in paternal affection.

 From Alexander the Platonic, I learned not frequently to say to any one or to write in a letter, that I have no leisure time. Nor to continually excuse the neglect of duties required by our relation to those with whom we live, by alleging urgent occupations.

 From Catulus, I learned not to be contentious when a friend finds fault, even if he should find fault without reason. Rather to try to restore him to his usual disposition. Moreover, to be ready to speak well of teachers and that I should love my children truly.

 My brother Severus taught me to love my family, and to love truth, and to love justice. I also received the idea of a polity (civil order) in which there is the same law for all, a polity (civil order) administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the freedom of the governed.

 From Maximus, I learned self-government, and not to be led aside by anything. I learned to be cheerful in all circumstances and to do what was set before me without complaining.

In my father, I saw a love of labor and perseverance, and a readiness to listen to those who had anything to propose for the common (good). I observed too his habit of careful inquiry in all matters of deliberation and his persistence, and that he never stopped his investigation through being satisfied with appearances which first present themselves. His disposition was to keep his friends, and not to be soon tired of them, nor yet to be extravagant in his affection. My father immediately checked popular applause and all flattery; he was ever watchful over the things which were necessary for the administration of the empire and was a good manager of the expenditure.

There are some important lessons we can learn from Marcus Aurelius. For example, he had several teachers that taught him what it would take to enter his kingship role. Christ has provided you with mentors such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. All five of these have a different grace, anointing, and perspective. They are all called to equip you for kingship. We also have family government instituted by God consisting of father, mother, and children. Included in this governing model are other family members that help mentor us along the way. As already said, the apostle Peter wrote that you are part of a royal priesthood of kings (1 Peter 2:9). Kingship training is not something we give much thought, but we should all understand the high calling as Ambassadors of Christ.

Marcus Aurelius was well trained. He kept a journal of his teachers and what they imparted to him. Take a minute and jot down what your mentors have taught you.

Your partner,

Apostle Jonas Clark








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