When you’ve been in ministry as long as we’ve been, eventually you learn to live by this principle:
But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
(1 Samuel 2:30b)
Our greatest and highest honor should be directed toward those whom Scripture tells us to honor, and to those who honor you.
Some older believers, and especially ministers, will understand this.
Have you ever noticed when people show you dishonor it is like a knife in your gut or fingers on a chalkboard, depending on the severity of the dishonor? Have you also noticed the contrary? When people show you honor that you’re immediately disposed to show them favor. In other words, it releases something in you toward them.
We have an entire generation coming up now in our churches that know very little about true godly honor. Many grew up in homes or came from abusive or strife-filled environments where honor was not a virtue. We have a responsibility to teach them honor.
I’ve had young people call me “buddy”, “slick”, “dude”, and such things. But those who have been taught will at the least call me Mr. Farias or brother Farias or brother Bert, or at times, Sir. A couple of years ago the Lord called me a “papa” through a public demonstration of tongues and interpretation. So I guess in the Spirit that’s what I am. It was an honorable thing.
Those who know me well know that I have an aversion toward titles. The main reason being, that I believe, especially in religious and even in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles it gets too political and puts you into a performance mode. Secondly, it is generally a deterrent to transparency and true friendship.
Years ago I felt like the Lord showed me that in heaven there is nothing remotely close to this attitude even though there is the highest degree of honor present there. No one bows to anyone in heaven except Jesus, and in much of Charismatic/Pentecostal culture this attitude can be quite rampant.
Personally, if I feel that this kind of high falutin’ honor is excessive toward any minister or even human being, I don’t know if it’s the Portuguese in me or what, but I’ll bypass their title and call them by their first name just to irritate them and test their humility. Forgive me, but I refuse to honor proud fools that strut and think they’re the next best thing since sliced bread.
Before honor is always humility. And God said He would abase the proud and exalt the humble.
It amazes me how much dishonor Jesus received in his earthly life and ministry. That shows you that many people have no discernment to who someone really is and the honor they deserve. Often they will honor celebrity status, popularity, position, titles, etc. but not true servitude and godly character.
Honor begets honor, so honor those who are deserving of honor.