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A Culture of Honoring

by | Apr 8, 2013 | Blog, News, Redemption

Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

On Sunday March 24, our security team stood in the cold rain setting up a tent so others wouldn’t get wet, helping people across the street and making sure that our kids were safe.  As I walked past them to get my daughter from Exodus Kids, I was blown away by their service to Jesus, our Church and my family.  They are to be honored and commended for serving in this manner.  And we, as a church, should experience a very real sense of gospel gratitude for the way they serve us each week.

As our elders met, we discussed how we could encourage a culture of honoring one another in a gospel framework at Exodus.  Romans 12 clearly commands us to honor one another. In fact, Paul challenges us to compete to see who honors one another best. This is not a helpful addition to our experience of the Church.  We are to outdo one another in showing honor to one another.  This should flow both in our hearts for one another and in our words toward one another.

In other words, we want a culture of honor that both feels and expresses gratitude to those who serve us to be experienced in our church.  For this reason, it seemed good to express some guardrails for our honoring one another and how the gospel calls us to navigate them together.

When you serve, you are only doing what you agreed to do.  

This first guardrail is crucial.  When you serve others in the context of your friendships, family, church or anything you have agreed to do for the community, you are simply doing what you agreed to do.  When you help a sick spouse, take a meal to a friend in your community group or serve children in Exodus Kids, you are simply doing what you agreed to do.

Sometimes when we serve others, we can begin to have a sense of entitlement, expecting that people should be grateful for what we are doing.  This entitlement can quickly devolve into self-righteousness and a sense of moral superiority (No one serves like I do.  I deserve more honor.).  In Luke 17, Jesus addresses this heart issue by telling a story.  He paints a picture of servants who have worked hard in the field and who come into the master’s house.  They find no rest, but have to continue serving.  Jesus ends the story with the following, “So, you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”

Talk about a cup of cold water to the face.  Jesus is clearly saying that regardless of how you serve anyone, you have only done what was your duty—what  was expected of you.  Said another way, at the end of your most obedient, selfless day, you have only done what was your duty.  No gold stars for doing your duty.  This is an important guardrail in a culture of honor.

When you are served, you are experiencing the grace of Jesus—so be grateful.

The second guardrail to keep us on the road of honoring one another in a gospel shaped way is that when we are served, we are experiencing a tangible expression of God’s grace toward us.  While those who serve can develop entitlement, those who expect to be served are living as if they deserve every good thing they get.  This is a denial of the gospel in our lives.

  • No one who attends our church deserves for someone to stand in the rain and help them cross the street.
  • No one who attends our church deserves to have their children cared for so that they can enjoy the worship service.
  • No one who attends our church deserves for the music or sermon to be good on a given week.
  • In fact, the harsh reality is that everyone who attends our church deserves Hell.

Entitlement, or a heart that expects to be served, has forgotten a central reality of the gospel—you don’t deserve anything but Hell.  Anything north of that is a tangible expression of the blood-bought grace of our Servant King.

Further, the good news of the gospel is that God, in his kindness, doesn’t give us what we deserve.  Instead, he gives us innumerable gifts of His grace.

  • Every umbrella held by a volunteer standing in the rain…
  • Every time we check a child in at Exodus Kids…
  • Every smile that greets us…
  • Every well-played song that exalts Jesus…
  • Every sermon that hobbles along but somehow gets us to the Cross of Jesus…
  • Every chair we sit in…
  • Every slide we read so we can sing…
  • Every meal brought to our home when we are in need…
  • Every conversation with a friend who points us to Jesus…

Every one of these and thousands more are blood-bought gifts of God’s grace to us that should erupt in a flow of gratitude that honors one another.

So, If the gospel is true, let’s serve from hearts that never expect or demand gratitude.  After all, we’ve only done our duty…even when it’s rainy and cold outside.  And, if the gospel is true, let’s be served with hearts that overflow with grateful honor for an indescribable gift.  Let’s honor one another with our hearts and our words.  Let’s serve with glad hearts toward our King.  Let’s express gratitude freely and frequently as those who are experiencing a blood-bought gift of God’s grace.  This kind of serving and being served will create a culture at our church, in our families and our relationships that honors the One who served us first.

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