Honor: What’s Growing on Here?

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of gathering with my family and celebrating my dad’s retirement from his 27 year career with his airline company. I’m not sure my words can do justice to what my heart felt as many, many people shook his hand, hugged his neck, drove/flew hundreds of miles to honor him and wish him well in his retirement. People kept coming up to me and telling me how much they appreciated his kind manners, friendship and professionalism. They’d tell me their favorite stories about working with him throughout the years. Several flight attendants moved heaven and earth to make sure they worked the last trip with him. They didn’t have to do that, but what an honor.

My parents, brother, sister and I preparing to participate in Dad's last airline flight.

My parents, brother, sister and I preparing to participate in Dad’s last airline flight.

The events leading up to and following that trip kept bringing the word honor to my heart. That word is really something and I’d like to process through how that word has affected me.

My parents have an amazing story. Maybe someday I’ll share more about it, but they had many challenges to overcome at different points in their marriage. They have lived a very blessed life and I would say that life has gone well for them.

Ephesians 6:1-3 has been ruminating in me for a few weeks now since my father’s retirement party. Especially the part about “that it may go well with you.”

I’ve known people through different seasons of life who say that life has not gone well for them. They say things like, “I’m just unlucky,” or “People just won’t give me a chance.”

My pastor made a profound point, “People who experience chronic failure are unteachable. People who are unteachable are that way because of their mindset.”

This brought up questions in my heart.

Why have my parents been chronically successful when over and over again they experienced difficult circumstances that should have wrecked them financially and emotionally?

How did they create an atmosphere of hope, encouragement and optimism in our home all my growing up years?

Why has life gone well for them in the land (realm of influence) they were given?

Disclaimer: I realize I’m painting with some broad strokes here, so please don’t hear what I’m not saying. Everyone has struggles and my parents are not perfect people. I don’t mean to edit our lives so as to leave an impression that they always made good decisions and never experienced failure.

What keeps coming up in my heart is the word honor. I am curious to know if people who are unteachable have much of a value for honor. Did they learn to honor their mother and father? Did they learn to respect authority in the different seasons of their life? Did they learn how to submit their agenda to the leader’s agenda over an extended amount of time?

Or did they roll their eyes, constantly argue, and throw a fit when they didn’t get what they wanted?

Did they treat their mother and father like imbiciles and reject their leadership in their life?

Did they believe that those in authority should bow down and ask their opinion of how things should be run at every juncture?

Did they entertain gossip about those in leadership positions?

You don’t plant corn and end up with cotton. Likewise, you don’t plant dishonor for years and years and suddenly reap honor. Sue Bohlin says it this way, “When God tells us that we will reap what we sow, he is not punishing us; he’s telling us how things really are.”

For me, it’s not a fun thing to evaluate the nasty fruit I’ve reaped and realize that I didn’t sow rotten fruit. I sowed rotten seeds in my thought life, my attitude and my choices.

I’m incredibly grateful for the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross because no one can honor enough to merit the favor of God.

King David is a wonderful example of someone who learned to honor authority throughout the different seasons of his life. Even after he had been anointed king by the prophet Samuel, he refused to exalt himself before it was his time to rule. There were many times when he had every right to lash out at King Saul, but he would find a way to honor authority. When Saul was abusive, David didn’t raise a hand against Saul, but instead removed himself from the abusive situation. Incredible. God made a way for David to do what was honorable. God will provide ways for us to cultivate honor in our relationships, too.

What would our marriages look like if we chose to sow trust rather than suspicion in the gap?

What would our parent/child relationships look like if we trained our children to honor at a young age?

What would our work place look like if we honored those in authority over us and supported our leaders’ ideas instead of undercutting their vision and mission?

Just a thought.

I’m proud of my parents and the way they’ve instilled their values in my siblings and me. My husband and I look forward to passing this rich inheritance on to the next generation.

If this post has been encouraging to you, please leave a comment below and share how the value for honor has impacted your life.

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