Posted on Mon, Nov 2, 2015
The value of honor
The Importance Of Honoring your Minister
Written by Michael D. Miller
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.-1 Timothy 5:17
The church was filled to capacity. There was a sense of anticipation in the crowd. The beloved pastor stood at the pulpit to say thank you for the gifts, kind words, and loving support from the church throughout his ministry.
He talked about the joys of the past, especially the accomplishments they had experienced as a church. There were expressions of joy and of thanks among the congregation. Added to the emotion of the moment was a realization that this is the way God intended for relationships to exist between minister and church.
During my 20-plus years in pastoral ministry, I have been blessed to serve in churches with deacons, committees, and individual believers who have honored my family and me as their pastor or staff leader. Much of what has happened in my life in leadership is the result of the humbling yet stimulating blessings of honor. There is no way to judge the power of honor on the life of a leader.
The subject of honor has not received much attention in the Christian world. Ask any group of church members what they think about honoring their ministers, and you will get diverse answers. Most people have no idea concerning the nature of honor. Some will say that honoring the minister is no longer necessary in today's society. Another person may say that if you show honor to ministers, it will feed their ego. Another may comment that the only ones who deserve honor as ministers are those who have served God for many years and have earned honor.
Few people in the church seem to understand the importance of giving honor to God, to others, and to ministers. Honor, in its purest form, means recognizing God and others as more significant than yourself. Such honor glorifies God. It is what God intends to exist in the church. In fact, God's will is that the church practice "double honor" for the ministers He gives your church.
The Need for Honor in the Church
Church conflicts are as old as the earliest days of the church and as contemporary as today's news. Churches and ministers have had their share of good relationships. Most churches have loved their ministers, and God has blessed the ministries of those churches. Other churches have not been as fortunate.
If you've ever belonged to a church involved in a conflict with a minister, you know the emotions associated with the situation. It's important to rise above the conflicts and look at what the Bible says. Perhaps, in our attempt to find a quick solution, we've overlooked something essential in resolving conflicts in the church. Most conflicts are over power and control and difficulties in personal relationships between ministers and the church. Conflict between ministers and churches dishonors the church. Ministers' families are hurt. Lifelong scars remain for those caught in these tragic circumstances. And most of all, God is dishonored.
A Biblical Mandate for Honoring Your Minister
Does God have a solution that would reduce the conflicts between churches and ministers? Is there an answer that will result in extended tenure in a minister's service to the church? What will restore the blessings of God on the church?
The resolution of conflict will come as a result of a new attitude. The solution to conflict and church problems is practicing the principles of biblical honor. The church needs to return to the basic truths about honor. A quick examination of a concordance reveals 190 references to honor in the Bible. The truths about honor are evident throughout Scripture.
As the Old Testament closed, God spoke to His people through the prophet Malachi. Dreadful days were ahead for the nation of Israel. It would be a time when there would not be a word from God -- a time of silence. What caused that time to come? Scholars believe a period of approximately 400 years existed between the close of the Book of Malachi and the Book of Matthew. Malachi declared the situation to Israel: "A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name" (Mal. 1:6). Israel had dishonored God. The people had ignored His laws of sacrifice, giving God the worst and keeping the best. God judged a nation for dishonoring Him through their selfish disobedience.
A Desire to Honor God Equals a Desire to Honor Our Minister
God asks the church today, "Where is My honor?" Where is God's honor in the conflicts over power in the church? Where is God's honor when a church and its ministers cannot work together? Where is God's honor when we don't give Him our best? God asks, "Where is My honor?" when there are broken relationships in the church. The church has forgotten what God called us to be.
Jesus prayed, "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:23). Jesus' prayer for the church today is that it will demonstrate the glory of God by unity of purpose and spirit. Church conflicts don't honor God. Individual disobedience in our Christian lives dishonors God. When we do not treat the ministers God has given the church with honor, how can we say we honor God?
The giving of honor is practiced in the context of relationships. It is demonstrated through submission and obedience to those who are called to places of authority and responsibility. Honor for God is the basis of all honor. Obedience to God is coupled to the honor we give to God.
When God asks the church, "Where is My honor?" -- what is your answer? The church must return to God with a renewed commitment to honor Him in all our relationships. We must return to God, reverently honor Him as Lord, and glorify His name. When the church honors God in these ways, He will be glorified among the nations.