Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:18-20
Today I watched a video by one of my favorite YouTubers, Vsauce. The video, titled “What is the Greatest Honor?”, talked about how one can define the greatest honor. It could be the honor of being the best at a particular sport or having the fastest time in a marathon. It could be the honor of being given the Medal of Honor for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. It could be the honor of having someone look at you and believe you will go to heaven. As former president Richard Nixon stated in his inaugural address, “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.” Or it could simply be the honor of being a father, knowing that someone loves and depends on you more than anyone else in the world.
I have had others honor me before, and each time has been so amazingly humbling and full of grace. They have always been special moments in my life that I will not forget, and this honor has come in so many forms. They were the times when a girl would say she liked me because I was so nice to her, or times when a close friend tells me something about themselves that very few others, if any, have ever known. They were the times when someone would tell me they miss me, or times when a close friend tells me that they are glad to know me. More recently, they were the times when I would share a Scripture with someone who needed it and they would break down into tears of thanksgiving and love for our God, or the times when a close friend shared Scripture with me when they knew I most needed it without my needing to tell them. I look back at each and every moment of honor in my life and know that receiving these honors have all been the greatest honors I could have been given in that moment, and being honored in such ways has shaped who I am as much as I shaped the givers life enough to honor me.
Yesterday was a particularly humbling day for me as I was honored in so many incredible ways. This past week I had been serving at a camp in Russia as part of my mission trip ministry, along with the other three members of the team from Texas A&M here for the summer, and with half a dozen people from Beaumont, Texas here just for this camp. And there were four people who gave me honor this past week.
The first was from someone I have never met. Google keeps track of traffic for this blog, and I am able to look at it and see where in the world people are reading, on what operating system and browser, and what sites directed traffic to this blog. Before anything, I just want to say that it is extremely humbling to see just how many people read my blog each week, especially when I see some hits from sites that I have not posted links to and are not spam. And by that, I really mean links from Google. But there was one in particular that stood out to me this week: someone searched on Google to see if people liked Impact Retreat at Texas A&M. I searched the same text and found a previous post of mine on the second page of results, and I was completely amazed at what I found. If you have been keeping up with this blog for awhile, you know how much I love Impact and how deeply it has changed my life, and the post that came up was me explaining that love exactly. All I could think when I saw that was, “Wow...I may have just influenced someone’s decision to go to Impact, where I know they will be told the Gospel and given the opportunity to meet amazing people, get involved with incredible Christian organizations, and change their life for the glory of God.” I am just so amazed and honored that a post I wrote almost a year ago is being used by God even today.
The second was also from a man I have never met. We took the team to an anticafe in St. Petersburg after the camp ended and before the Beaumont team had to leave to catch their plane. It had a hipster/music theme, and it didn’t take long for several of us to grab instruments and start playing together with a few others already playing there. There was a guy playing guitar, a girl from the Beaumont team playing a second guitar, and a girl on tambourine when I joined with a couple hand drums. Throughout the night people came and left playing with us, and we had several guitars, a bass, myself on recorder or shaker, and everyone else singing along or snapping their fingers having a great time. But the greatest honor came from a man who was not playing along with us, but rather sitting in the room next to us, drawing. Inspired by the friendly atmosphere and by how so many people just grabbed instruments and started playing, this man drew us all into the beautiful work of art pictured above. But even beyond just drawing us, the manager of the anticafe saw the art and wants to make it into business cards, or even paint it on the wall. I was so humbled and honored by this, that a couple people with a passion for music and a man with a passion for art could become something so much more incredible, and something so deeply personal to each of us involved.
The third was from someone I just met this week, from the Beaumont team. I got the chance to know this person very well this week, and they got to know me very well too. At one point, this person opened up to me and shared all her past pains and current struggles, and I prayed with her and a couple others and helped remind her of how much Jesus loves her and will never leave her. I was given the chance to show her all the love that Christ has shown in my simply by being there for her and being her friend, and I was honored by the way she trusted me enough to open up so much to me to seek healing where she had only found pain before.
And the fourth person that honored me I have known for almost two years now. Jesus Christ gave me honor through the person mentioned above. In short, Jesus gave her a prophetic dream several months ago that showed her that something amazing would happen here in Russia. I was the person in that dream that was brought to her; our meeting, our deep conversations, her opening up and me able to help bring healing through Jesus...it happened by divine appointment. I have known that I was coming to Russia for almost two years, and she had known about something happening in Russia for months: both of us had been brought to this place for a purpose, and I was honored by Jesus to have had this confirmed again and again. I was honored know that Jesus has a divine purpose for my life, and that he is revealing this plan to me and giving me honor when I am faithful to Him.
So what is the greatest honor? I would say that it is impossible to say any single honor is any greater than another. Each and every honor says something about the individual and each one means the world that person. And the honor that we each feel is so deeply personal that if another were to receive the same honor it may mean nothing at all to them. Honor is something that we feel as an individual, and it is something that we give to an individual: once that honor becomes something that is mass-produced it loses its meaning, and once it becomes misplaced it also loses meaning. But when the honor given is personal, like a friend saying they miss me or Jesus revealing to me his plan for me, there is no greater thing in the world, and nothing I would trade it for.