I have never been to Washington DC. I am excited because we are starting to plan a trip for sometime in the future. Our kids are at the perfect age to go and see so many of the sites that we have only read about or seen on TV. One of the sites that I want to go to is Arlington National Cemetery.
I want to honor all of those who have made the greatest of sacrifice for my country. Specifically, I want to pay my respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch the tomb guards. The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. This monument is guarded by Sentinels. I love the fact that these guards are not just ceremonial. They will confront anyone who crosses the line, is loud or otherwise disrespectful. They are active military soldiers who have volunteered for this duty of ensuring that our fallen soldiers are shown the honor that their sacrifice has earned. They take that duty very seriously.
Honor to where honor is due.
It is easy for me to give honor to those who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I have the deepest respect for them so honor is easy in that case. Honor is also easy when all it costs me is a moment of silence or taking my hat off. I don’t mind giving that sort of honor at a sporting event, a memorial, or a funeral.
Honor is more difficult when it demands something of me. I don’t tend to seek out honor in those cases. We all live under some authority in one form or another. Authority in our normal, daily lives tends to demand something of us. It never seems to go very well for anyone who tries to disrespect what that authority demands of us.
The greatest honor that we can show to the authority that is over us is to do what they say. We honor our government by obeying the law. We honor our boss by working hard and doing what we are told. We honor teachers by not cheating. We honor our Pastors and Elders by following their leading. A wife honors her husband by following his leading. Children honor their parent by doing what they are told.
This is a lesson that we are continually working on with our kids. We want our kids to respond to our direction the first time it is made. I don’t want to have to tell them to do something three or four time and then have to “lower the boom” to get them moving. It is a lesson that we as parents are continually fighting to be consistent with.
It is so important. The reason it is so important is because of honor. My kids are disrespecting me when they disregard my request and refuse to do what I have asked. They are failing to honor my position of authority – parent. My daughter tries to manipulate me with a hug and “I love you so much.” I know that she loves me. I love her very much. However, her honoring me as a parent entails her doing what I tell her. When she doesn’t do what I ask, she is demonstrating that she loves herself more than she loves me.
I want her to honor me not because of my position of authority as her father, but out of her love for me. I want her to honor me and do what I ask because she loves me. That is the highest form of honor; to show respect not because you have to but because you want to.
Jesus is due the greatest of all honor because of his position. Jesus is our judge.
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son…” (John 5:22)
It is that position of authority that merits our respect of Jesus, whether we love him or not. Jesus is our judge and due our honor:
“…that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (John 5:23)
It is the fact that Jesus sits on the judgment seat for all of mankind that he is due the respect of that position of authority. The greatest disrespect that could be given is to not do what he has told us to do; to not believe what he has said.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Ultimately, those who reject Christ are rejecting His position of authority; they don’t believe He has a position of judgment or that there is one. It will not go well for anyone who is disrespectful enough to question Christ’s authority.
There are many who have heard Christ’s word and have made a confession of belief in him but have left their honor of their Savior at that level. They don’t mind honoring God if it doesn’t require much of them. They don’t mind a moment of silence or having to take their hat off; they don’t mind going to Church on Sunday or attending a few Church functions.
Jesus requires a demonstration of an honor that requires so much more than that. Jesus requires all of us. Many of us may play the “I love you so much” card with God but that does not get us out of honoring him with everything that we are. You may love God. If you are in Christ, then God loves you very much. However, when you don’t do what God has told you to do, then you are demonstrating that you love yourself more then you love him and you are dishonoring Him. Your depth of love for God does not relieve you of your obligation to honor God. Your willingness to honor God reveals what you love most.
The greatest love that we can show our Lord and Savior is to do what he tells us to do, the first time, not because we have to (which we do) but because we love him and want to.
That is the honor that Jesus wants; obedience that comes originating out of love.
Honor to where honor is due from a heart of gratitude, appreciation, and love.