Honor the Honorable

To start 2021, I spent a couple of hours with the mayor and commissioners of our city, recording messages of thanks and congratulations to the police officers of our city.  Two weeks later, we hosted the Chiefs and command staff of our police department, again recording thanks and congratulations for the department’s officers.  This was all part of our annual Night of Excellence Celebration, giving due honor to the brave men and women of the Ocoee Police Department.  We recognized Officers of the Year, Promotions, Commendations, and various other awards.  And we are doing so, because it is right to give honor to those who are honorable.

When writing to the Roman church, the Apostle Paul said that we are to “Give everyone what you owe him…if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Rom 13:7).  

Respect and honor should be readily given by Jesus’ followers, yet both seem to be elusive and in short supply throughout our culture.  

Respect means that we should recognize the dignity of everyone, simply because each person is a handcrafted masterpiece made by God.  Every man, woman, and child should be treated with respect, not because they always conduct themselves in ways worthy of respect, but because God has made them as the pinnacle of His creation and we show Him respect by respecting what He values.  Honor goes beyond granting dignity to granting esteem, and it is based on the person conducting themselves in a manner of true and lasting value.  The values that draws honor from us should include lasting moral qualities such as honesty, integrity, courage, and service.  When we see honorable action, honorable conduct, and honorable character, we should be quick to grant honor in a public manner.

  It is why we have built an ethnically, generationally, and socioeconomically diverse church.  It is also why we are regularly active in building our community and supporting those who may have felt marginalized.  We’ve cleaned alleyways, given books to refugee children, fed the hungry, and moved in to help others after disasters as wide ranging as hurricanes and mass shootings.  We do so without asking for anything in return or without seeking a “values test” with those we serve.  We help and love because we respect the dignity of people made in God’s image.

Of all institutions, churches should respect the inherent value of all people.

A church should also serve its community’s heroes, leaders, and public servants with excellence and, where due, appropriate honor.  We have been able to regularly support our community’s leaders in ways both tangible and intangible.  We provide both assistance and accountability.  And when these leaders conduct our community’s business honorably, we honor them.  God has given our church a very privileged position and voice with our community’s leaders, and that comes with a corresponding stewardship to give honor to the honorable.  

The men and women who make up our local police force and who lead that force are truly some of the most highly trained and highly decorated officers in our region.  And they consistently show an exceptional level of professionalism and service in the face of unparalleled societal challenges.  And so, we are excited to again host the Night of Excellence Celebration.  We will serve and honor these honorable officers, and in so doing we will serve and honor our great God.

We are to respect everyone.  And we are to honor the honorable.  What are some ways you are consistently showing respect to people?  How can you show honor to the honorable in the new year?

Pastor Keith Tower
Senior Pastor 

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