The Dishonor of Non-Honor

Honor is a big deal in the Bible.

It is the first command with a promise.  “Honor your father and mother and your days will be long upon the face of the Earth.”

It is the New Testament ethic for love in relationships.  “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

It is the Heavenly declaration of worship.  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

The Parable of the Talents is one of the most pointed and clear teachings of Jesus on honor.  (Matthew 25:14-30)  The story is a description of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The master or owner leaves his servants (or stewards) in charge of his property while on a journey.  The master fully entrusts them to honor him with what he leaves them and fully expects them to honor what they are given by investing it wisely.  Two servants were faithful with what they were given and doubled their master’s investments.  One buried his and did nothing with it. The first two are greatly rewarded.  The latter is stripped of what he has and is cast out in the deep darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We often pass over the first two and focus only on the latter.  These two were rewarded, greatly.  They were rewarded with living in the joy of their master, not under indebtedness to their master.  The reward was worth whatever sacrifice they had made.  No one knows what choices they had made along the way to sacrifice for the honor of the master, yet they had also benefited from this profit.  It had provided for them all along, yet they chose to not misuse the trust given them but to honor the master with diligent investment.  The master provided both current provision and eternal reward, for those who honored him.

We typically focus on the servant who does not wisely invest his talent.  This man hides it.  He protects himself instead of honoring his master.  Oddly enough, if we treat the parable with integrity, what exactly does he do that dishonors the master?  He gives him back exactly what he gave him.  He did not lose one penny (or drachma).  The master received back in full everything he gave this servant, yet he considered him wicked and lazy.  Why?

When the servant chose to not honor the master he actually chose to dishonor the master.  Non-honor is dishonor.  We, too often, believe that living a life in which God is not dishonored is the same thing as living a life that brings God honor.  It is not.

This servant not only lost out on the reward, he had already lost out on the blessings.  He knew no blessings of his master.  The other servants had lived well off of the provision found out of the faithful stewardship of what the master blessed them with.  The wicked servant used his own provision and survived.  He not only missed out on the reward at the end, he missed out on the provision along the way.  So do we.

Did God give you the talent (musical, artistic, speaking, sports, etc.) he gave you simply so you would not dishonor him with it or so that you would honor him with it?

Did God bless you with that annual salary so you could not dishonor him with it or so you could honor him with it?

Did God give you a spouse so you could not dishonor him/her or so you could honor him/her?

Did God give you the gift to teach or of hospitality so you could use it for purposes that do not dishonor Him or so that you could honor him?

Honor is the answer.  Stop giving the minimum you think is allowable and pretending that is honor.  Honor requires others before you and above you.

You honor God with everything or your honor him with nothing.

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