Athlete, Honor Comes By This Channel


Athlete, Honor Comes By This Channel

Morris Michalski

John 12:26 (NASB)

If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

A few years ago, I invested in a college basketball team on the road for a day. It was so memorable. Our game day chapel time together earlier at their hotel proved rich, strong and igniting. 

Then came the game. A signature road win followed. I was really encouraged to see a bunch of young men and dedicated coaches so engaged all day long. 

But the biggest surprise of the day found me shifting roles from simple “chapel guy” to “passionate fan” and “water boy” prior to the contest to suddenly invited to “guest coach” strategically on the bench the entire game. I even retreated with the team to a spirited locker room for postgame celebration. What an unexpected honor!

Have you received honor lately? If so, did it surprise you? Was it deserved? 

If no honor has come your way lately, do you believe it’s bound to come? Do you know where and how to find it? Do you hope it comes your way soon, like in 2024?

Few things feel better than receiving honor, especially when coming from those who truly know and understand. It’s something we all desire. Jesus recognized this and brought special attention to this subject often during his life. Let’s take a closer look at what God has to say about honor. 

The Bible teaches that honor comes best through two channels: humility (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12, 22:4) and servanthood (John 12:26; Matthew 20:26, 23:11; Mark 10:43). These are unpopular, unconventional, unexpected paths but are guaranteed honor pipelines nonetheless. Still, this is how honor really works. 

HUMILITY: Humility makes room for others. It keeps us from becoming blind, myopic, self-absorbed, uncoachable. It prepares us to be most useful to God and others. 

Eligibility for true greatness and real honor starts and ends here. Fulfilling God’s great game plan of building us for others pivots on this virtue. And He says that the humble have every right to be hopeful. Honor will come their way (John 12:26, Luke 1:52, James 4:10, Peter 5:6).

SERVANTHOOD: Servanthood is built on two primary actions: dedicated following and consistent joining. (“Where I am there will my servant be also,” says Jesus to His disciples.) Following Christ is not to be an occasional stroll or played like pickup basketball. It’s a lifetime pursuit. 

And joining Jesus means we are found wherever He is. We become inseparable. We automatically gravitate to His orbit. Whatever He’s doing, we get involved. Wherever He goes, we go. His life in us and our life in Him (John 15:5).

GUARANTEED: Jesus guarantees that great honor will come our way when we live a life of service. He doesn’t say when, where or how, but He does make it clear that it’s inevitable, way more inevitable than death, taxes or the likelihood that Steph Curry hits a cluster of 3-pointers during the course of a ball game. The Father sees to it that honor comes to servants of His Son. 

Yes, God loves to honor the commitments we make (like humbly following, faithfully serving, and joining Him wherever He’s at work) that honor Him. 

Reflect: How do you seek honor? Self-promoting or humbly serving? Do you believe that your ultimate honor is guaranteed by God as you faithfully serve and follow His Son? In what way might God be asking you to honor Him by joining Jesus in selfless service?

A prayer to consider:  Heavenly Father, I love looking at Jesus! I believe in the servant example He set, the relentless following He practiced, the death-to-self and others-first humility He demonstrated, and the trust in You that His honor would surely come when it was time. 

Help me do the same, to live this same life pattern and join in this same great hope, by the power of your Spirit. Amen.

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