Honor means to “hold in high esteem.” In our culture, honor is reserved for those persons who’ve achieved a remarkable feat or attained a certain status. An athlete is honored for winning championships. Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player in NBA history because he won six championships. Business leaders are honored for having reached certain levels of success. Warren Buffet is held in high esteem because he’s a billionaire. He’s invited to talk to world leaders. He’s given the best seat at the restaurant. And why not? He’s earned it.We also see a modern phenomenon of men and women being regarded as famous simply for being
We also see a modern phenomenon of men and women being regarded as famous simply for being famous. However, most people would make a definite distinction between those who have earned the recognition of honor and those who simply have recognition—and did nothing to earn it. In street slang, we recognize the difference between “players” and “pretenders.”
And that’s the point of honor in our culture. Honor must be earned. You have to be willing to pay the price required to achieve the goal, and this price can be enormously high. Families are neglected, marriages are lost, and sometimes, personal injuries leave the champion with a lifetime of pain.
And though it may seem obvious, we often forget that this honor given to our world’s “heroes” is purely shallow at its core. If a team wins the Super Bowl they’re the champions of the football world. But if a new team wins the following year another champion is named. The world just forgets about the previous champion. Entertainment is the same way. Release a great record and our world just wants another one. Star in a great movie and the world wants to know what’s coming out next. Once honor has been given, the world demands an ever-rising level of success for one to keep the honor bestowed on them. Sometimes the person honored gets caught on this treadmill to the point when they regret ever having received the honor in the first place.
This is a fundamental difference between the teachings of Christ and the expectation of our world. With Christ, honor is not earned. It’s given. The gospel restores dignity lost through sin and failures. Christ gives back to His followers what the fall has taken away. Honor is one of those things.