In my first blog post in this series I told the story that kicked off our four year journey toward becoming agents of change to restore honor in Exeter, CA. What began with a routine police stop has grown into a fruitful crop of honor. I identified three seeds that grew, matured, and produced the fruit we are now celebrating and replanting. I’ll be addressing each seed in upcoming blog posts.
Those three seeds are:
- A REASON for honor: “I don’t honor people because they are honorable, but because I am honorable.”
- A FILTER for honor: “Honor is receiving people for who they are, not for who they aren’t.”
- A GOAL for honor: “Kingdom life flows through honor.”
So, let's look at a REASON for honor:
"I don't honor people because they are honorable, but because I am honorable."
Bad Iced Tea
My dad taught me to take care of the yard work when I was young. I was instructed how to make straight, overlapping passes across the lawn, how to handle the weed eater along the edges of the yard, and the basics of taking care of the gas mower and weed eater. I was also shown the joy of sipping iced tea from the front porch after a job well done. But, I always hoped the lawnmower would break down beyond my abilities to fix it so I could slough off my duties for the week.
I'm not sure it's a hard fact in life, but it seems doing something right with the wrong motive produces wrong or incomplete results. The opposite seems true as well: doing something right with the right motive produces right and complete results.
Like celebrating a broken lawnmower when growing up, I've done plenty of chores in life (something right) while kicking and screaming about it the whole time (wrong motive). The job got done, but not as well as it could have been, and the joy of a job well done was incomplete. Iced tea just doesn't taste as good when the job is shirked. This is true for work and responsibilities, but also for how we approach people.
Non-Scheduled Watering Days
If my honor toward people is based upon my own idea of whether or not they are worthy of honor I actually prove myself to be dishonorable. Honor is either like a fountain flowing from inside of me that blesses those I come into contact with, or it is like the Water Shortage Emergency Ordinance our California town has operated under during the drought- I only give it out twice a week and only on my scheduled watering days.
Jonah seemed to operate under an Honor Shortage Emergency Ordinance. God wanted to show his love to a city and call the citizens to repent, so he chose Jonah to be his representative. Jonah didn't like the people of the city of Nineveh, so he ran the opposite direction (Jonah 1-2). Using a storm and a fish, God spat Jonah back on the shores of the city. He obeyed, but did so with dishonor in his heart (Jonah 3). The book concludes with an interesting comparison of God's honor toward the people of Nineveh versus Jonah's lack of honor to them. Jonah struggled to drip honor even on his scheduled days while honor gushed like a fountain from the heart of God. God doesn't honor people because they are honorable, but because He is honorable. As people made in God's image, we are to be honorable like Him.
I wonder if there aren't people around us, like the Ninevites, needing the refreshing water of honor in their lives, but, like Jonah, we are walking the opposite direction from them.
Do you honor people simply because you are honorable or only when you deem them worthy of honor?
The Ninevites are waiting; even on the non-scheduled days.