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

Being Supernatural Naturally

What do you do when at a restaurant you perceive that the waitress’ future involves a very specific field of work? I mean, when you know what she wants to do instead of working in a restaurant, and you have not gained this knowledge from something she said.

On my way home from Klamath Falls yesterday, while I waited for my to go order, suddenly I knew the career dream that’s been in my waitresses heart.

I see myself as the mail carrier, bringing love letters from the Lord to individuals. This sort of thing happens to me a lot, sometimes in situations that aren’t suitable for ministry, more often while I’m serving the Lord at churches and special events, and on occasion in settings like the one I’m telling you about here–where it’s much easier to encourage a total stranger with a “love letter” from the Lord.

loveletterWhen I gave the waitress the word, it was in the context of her just saying that an employee had called in sick. So, you can see that chiming in about a whole new career path was totally out there.

This is how I handled it…

“You’re not in college?” I said. “But you want to go to Beauty School. You would be really good in that field.”

She responded by sharing with me her dream of going to Cosmetology school and working in the beauty industry. I learned that she’s wanted to be a hair stylist for a long time, but significant changes in her current situation need to happen first. She described exactly what she wants to specialize in, because (I learned from her) there are all sorts of specialized areas within that field.

So how did I know that in her heart was a dream of going to Cosmetology school? The answer is in 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14 where Paul teaches about the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit. Through what he called “words of knowledge,” individuals are encouraged, comforted, and edified. Additionally, all of the gifts of the Spirit reveal God’s Presence and His loving care.

The waitress asked me what I was doing in Klamath? I explained that I was on my way home after ministering at a couple of churches. This was a good opening to then mention briefly that the Lord is the One who revealed to me her career dream. I have no idea where she’s at in faith, but I could tell by her smile that my words were well received.

I’m grateful that I’m learning how “to be supernatural naturally,” as my friend Jean Krisle Balsi puts it.

How do we receive love letters from the Father for the people along our paths?

It’s as simple as what Corrie Ten Boom said,

“The glove can do nothing. Oh, but if my hand is in the glove, it can do many things…cook, play the piano, write. Well, you say that is not the glove, but the hand in the glove that does it. Yes, that is so. I tell you that we are nothing but gloves. The hand in the glove is the Holy Spirit of God. Can the glove do something if it is very near the hand? No! The glove must be filled with the hand to do the work. That is exactly the same for us: We must be filled with the Holy Spirit to do the work God has for us to do.”

It’s just like that, you know.

Love on someone today and let them know that God cares deeply about them.