The Culture of Honor

loveletterI’m fascinated by the way some nations honor those who are worthy of honor. For instance, when my friends ministered in Pakistan, the sponsoring pastors placed several white flowery wreaths around their necks. Then as they entered the sanctuary, the congregation sprinkled rose pedals on the floor before their feet.

And I know of a minister who serves a congregation on the African continent whose wife went out of country for several weeks to receive cancer treatments. Upon her return, a large company of people greeted her at the airport and ushered she and her husband to a party held to praise the Lord for bringing her safely home–that party was a grand celebration of her return with food, music and joyous dancing.

I’m not suggesting that we Americans make a rose pedal walkway for visiting ministers or drape leas around the necks of guest preachers, nor am I intimating that elaborate parties be held for ministers of the Gospel upon their return to us from long absences.

But here’s what i think…

We can learn much from other cultures about honor, respect and appreciation.

Yes, it may seem like the examples I used here are over the top, but can you imagine how my friends and that pastor’s wife felt? The point of honoring is to demonstrate esteem in a way that greatly blesses the recipient. The Pakistani pastors and the African congregation did a great job of doing just that.

Quite some time ago, it came to my attention that in the United States we show honor to certain members of society whom we deem especially worthy, but in many other scenarios we are poorly lacking.

As Gods children, we should be golden in this whole area of esteeming one another. It’s one of the values of God’s Kingdom. But I’m not so sure that we do this very well.

Furthermore, the Bible instructs, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

What does “double honor” look like in the American Church culture? And how can we in the Body of Christ improve the way that we esteem one another?

Honoring one another and giving “double honor” to preachers and teachers is important to the Lord. This is a big deal in the Kingdom. Therefore, for several months I’ve sought for greater understanding and an application of these truths.

Last week, an answer to my questions concerning this came through a total contradiction to 1 Timothy 5:17. What happened to me, an experience which was the complete opposite of honor, shocked me clear out of the water. It came from left field and caught me off guard. It rattled my senses and brought me to tears.

But a blessing came from that heartbreak; I gained greater understanding and a stronger determination to honor and esteem those worthy of respect.

Tonight, as I share this with you, I hope that you will glean from my words. The vocabulary I used here isn’t especially creative and this note to you isn’t polished, but it’s from my heart.

Let’s esteem one another and give “double honor” to those who serve among us. Let’s get really good at this and make it something for which we’re known. As we do so, we will impact our culture in a transformative and wonderful way.

Blessings to you,

Pamela Koefoed

What Will You Tell Jesus When He Asks You This Question?

My pastors served in Pakistan and when they arrived at the conference location, they were greeted by smiling, hugging leaders and pastors of various churches from throughout the region who draped fragrant, floral leis around their necks. Is this what love looks like?

For years, I’ve believed and taught that the question the Lord will ask us someday is — Have you learned to love? Then I heard a prophet tell his testimony of dying and then coming back to life. When the old prophet died, he was overwhelmed with joy to come to the Lord because he knew that the Lord would welcome him into His kingdom. The Lord looked upon his face and asked, “Did you learn to love?”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

If this is the question that will be asked of all of us, then shouldn’t loving one another be at the top of our goal lists?

Jesus turned to the men who would be the first apostles in His kingdom and He told them, Love one another, as I have loved you.

That command, directed to His disciples, is for all who call upon His Name.

I’m preparing to serve with an amazing team of men and women ministers who are coming to our little part of rural Oregon to serve the Body of Christ during a 3-day gathering, Glorious Rising. As I do so, I’m reflecting on Jesus’ words about love and seeking ways to show His love to those who will attend from throughout the Northwest and to those who are coming to serve in one way or another.

Recently, I watched a FB video that touched me deeply and brought tears to my eyes. It was of a precious pastor and his wife who serve in Africa. After a long absence, their congregation met them at the airport and later they held a celebration in honor of their return. Is this what love looks like?

My pastors served in Pakistan and when they arrived at the conference location, they were greeted by smiling, hugging leaders and pastors of various churches from throughout the region who draped fragrant, floral leis around their necks. Is this what love looks like?

What does love look like among ministers and ministries of the Gospel that are working for the same cause? That cause is Jesus Christ and Him glorified, the maturing of the Bride of Christ, the bringing in of the harvest.

For me love among ministers looks like…honoring one another and being there for each other, and it looks like all sorts of things that build up and bless.

You have wisdom that I need; I have wisdom that you need. You have gifts that differ from mine and will build up the Body in a way my gifts probably won’t. The graces upon my life might strengthen the Body in a different way than the graces on your life. You have experience that I can learn from; I have experience you can learn from.

Imparting and sharing and learning and growing together looks like love to me. Sharing one another’s pulpits looks like love to me. Walking in honor of one another’s uniqueness looks like love to me. Speaking into one another’s destinies and dreams looks like love to me.

We’re all learning to love while here on this side of heaven. Let’s practice what we’re learning and someday we’ll tell Jesus, “Yes, we learned to love. We learned to love.”

About Glorious Rising, October 17-19, 2014, Lakeview, Oregon. Go to: http://gloriousrising.com