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

The Most Important Part of the Day

morningprayerEvery time I’ve set aside early morning time to seek the Lord, I belly flop. My eyes become heavy with sleep, my mind wanders, and my heart feels guilty for not being more holy like the rest of everyone who knows anything about being a Christian.

No fewer than a dozen times over the years, I’ve heard preachers and teachers of the Word say that we prioritize our lives based upon whatever is most important to us. They say that if Jesus is number 1, then this will be evident by how we begin every day. He should be first in the morning before we do anything else, they add, because the Bible tells us so.

Somehow the Priority Principle has never jelled in my mold. I want it to. My morning routine involves prayer, but I wait until later in the day for that deeper experience with Jesus that I’ve grown to cherish.

In my world, most everyday is filled with unending tasks and responsibilities—Believe me! Sometimes the “to do” list is incomprehensible. In addition to work and the ministry, there are always household chores, and friendship and family ties that keep me on my toes.

Such a busy life! I’m chasing after my shadow as I try to catch up with myself.

Think with me for a second; Is Jesus less important to me than He is to you if you begin your morning with your personal devotion time, but I postpone that aspect of my walk with Jesus until after I’ve tackled a project that weighs on my mind?

You see, not only do I become very sleepy while in early morning prayer, but the way I’m wired may be different than the way you’re wired. Until I clear my schedule of urgent matters—a report, for instance, that must be delivered today to my local judge and to all of the legal parties to a particular court case—it’s almost impossible for me to focus my entire heart on the Lord. But once I complete the projects for which others depend upon me, I’m more able to enter into “The Secret Place” of His Presence.

Keeping Jesus a priority takes a little doing in a busy life, but I can’t imagine a day without being with Him. In fact, right now as I share this with you, my heart is stirred with desire for Him. So, I’ll sign off now and hurry to complete that court report responsibility, and then I’ll have an entire afternoon to be with the Lord.

Jesus is without question my priority, and I hope He is number 1 in your life, too.

Keep going after God.

Pamela