Summary: We give honor by expecting the best of each other, by not playing favorites, and by caring about each other’s well-being.
Today we are honoring several groups of people. We are honoring our Graduates from High School or College. We are honoring those who have served in the Military. And we will be honoring past elders who have served faithfully in our congregation. Tonight we will be honoring one of our “Timothy’s” by ordaining Reed Adams to ministry.
Since we are giving honor in so many ways, I decided to take a look at what the Bible says about giving honor. I Timothy chapter 5 talks about the importance of giving honor in the church. The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. I Timothy 5:17
1. Give “Double Honor”
You might ask, “What does “double honor” mean?” Some think that double honor would be like “double pay.” But that might be a problem. We don’t pay our Elders anything. Double of nothing is still nothing! One thing’s sure though – double honor is a good thing. It’s a whole lot of honor!
I appreciate the work our elders do in so many ways. They focus on the spiritual direction of our church. They make many difficult decisions. They also teach the word of God. Just recently they took on the task of teaching a class on Christian Growth. They are testing this out on Stewart Tyler’s Sunday Sunday-School Class, and will soon make it available to new Christians. Many of our Elders lead Pueblo Bible Studies or other groups. They faithfully visit the sick and shut-ins. They pray regularly for needs in the church. Anything else that needs doing --- they do it. Our church leaders deserve“Double Honor.”
Sometimes honor includes tangible rewards. I Timothy 5:18 explains, 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
Now a preacher might not like being compared to an Ox, put the point is that church workers deserve fair pay. Our congregation has 3 Full Time ministers and several people who are paid for Part-Time work. We give proper honor by taking care of their financial needs.
No matter whom we honor, it often includes tangible rewards. We honor our Military by supplying them with the equipment they need in battle and by giving fair pay to support them and their families. We often honor Graduates with gifts. We all know what a young person hopes to find when they open that Graduation card: something green is always in style!
Another way we can show Honor is to EXPECT THE BEST.
2. Expect the best
I Timothy 5:19 gives this instruction: Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.
The point is, we should be quick to believe the best and slow to think the worst of church leaders. In fact, to accuse someone or to gossip about someone is the exact opposite of giving Honor. There are times when a leader is doing something wrong and action has to be taken. But too often the accusations that are made are unfounded.
I’ve heard people speak against church leaders by saying things like, “He just isn’t spiritual. He has no “vision.” He only cares about certain people.” Friends, no one can defend against those kind of subjective condemnations. They are actually attacks on a person’s motives. Only God can see a person’s heart. These kind of criticisms go against the scripture that tells us to give Honor to our church leaders.
We should expect the best of our church leaders. Our elders are men of integrity. They unselfishly give time and resources for the church. We should honor them by assuming the best of them. This is the same way we give Honor to our young people. We honor our children by expecting them to do well. A good parent is a Cheerleader for their child. We look for the good and encourage them every chance we get. A critical attitude is not the way to give honor.
I Timothy 5:21 gives another warning: I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
If you want to give Honor, then DON’T PLAY FAVORITES.
3. Don’t play favorites
All of us have our strengths and weaknesses. This is true of our children, our friends, and it is true of our church leaders. In a family it is a mistake to choose favorites among your children. In the same way, it is a mistake to choose favorites in the church. Church leadership is not a competition. We have multiple Elders and multiple Ministers because we need each one of them. No one can do everything; but everyone can do something.