As I write this afternoon the rain is coming down again. We have had a nice day today with sunshine in the morning. I was able to get out a get a little work done in the yard. It was good to have Spence Swalm come to Fort Collins for another visit. We enjoyed lunch together and an opportunity to reconnect after a few months since his last visit. Spencer has been a great encouragement over the past two years and has taken the opportunity to drive from Centennial to Fort Collins to check up on me and for us to get caught up.
As we come to another Memorial Day, we pause and reflect on those who have fought for our freedoms and for other loved ones who have passed from this life. During this time I recall the service of my father-in-law Elmer Kercher during World War II. This experience is such an integral part of my in-laws story. They were married just a few days before Elmer headed off to basic training and then to Europe as part of the Seventh Calvary unity of the US Army.
During the chapel service yesterday, I shared about “Living a Life of Honor.” Below is a summary of some of my thoughts.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Prov. 22:1 “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:7
On Memorial Day we recognize and “honor” those who have fought for and died in the cause of freedom over the years of our nation’s history. It is also a time when we remember loved ones who have passed from this life.
The concept of “honor” is two-fold.
1- It speaks of living a life of integrity. It has to do with upholding a standard and living according to a code of conduct. Honor historically, is viewed as something that is lived in the context of relationship and commitment to others and a cause greater than ourselves. We speak of “honoring” a contract, or “honoring” our word. When the Psalmist describes the person of integrity that the Lord honors he refers to these traits.
“…who does no damage with their talk, does no harm to a friend, doesn’t insult a neighbor; someone who despises those who act wickedly, but who honors those who honor the Lord; someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts…” Psalm 15:3-5
2 – It speaks of bestowing recognition, respect and dignity on someone. This can be for the life they have lived or a service they have performed. It shows that you prize and value relationship with someone. In this context is “honor” means, “regard with great respect.”
Thomas Carlyle once said, “Show me the person you honor and I will know what kind of person you are.” I also like Mark Twain’s perspective, “It is better to be overlooked for an honor, than to have an honor you don’t deserve.”
This is why it is fitting and proper to “remember and reflect” on lives that have faithfully served our country as well as lives that have made an impact on us and who we have been in relationship with.
This is why “memorial” services are an important aspect of life and death. What is important is not what a person feels about themselves, but others having the opportunity to recognize their life and influence. Remember, all of us regardless of our station in life, impact others far more deeply than we imagine.
What is a life of honor?
1 – A life of honor is not life of perfection. But it is a commitment to a direction and values in life that win the respect of others and honors the Lord. Life has its ups and downs; its challenges and trials. Living a life that deserves respect demonstrates a commitment and leaves an example on how to make “mid-life” (or “end of life”) corrections.
2- It is a life of wisdom…..”Wisdom offers you long life, as well as wealth and honor.” Prov. 3:16
3-A life of honor is one that “honors” the Lord. The Lord spoke through the prophet and asked, “….where is my honor? If I am a master, where is my respect? – Malachi 1:6 Solomon said, “To honor the Lord is to hate evil;” Prov. 8:13 He also said, that obedience is the path to honor. “Obey the Lord, be humble, and you will get riches, honor, and a long life.” Prov. 22:4
We honor the Lord by living a life of trust and receiving forgiveness and strength for each day and for each stage of our life. We honor the Lord with our praise…through recognizing Him in our daily lives.
John III Sobieski, King of Poland in the late 17th century, is best remembered as the man who led a charge that broke the seige of the Turks against Vienna. His rescue of Vienna is considered one of the decisive battles in European history. In announcing his great victory the king paraphrased the famous words of Caesar by saying simply, “I came; I saw; God conquered.”
Heaven is filled with praise and honor to the Lord. As John, sees in to heaven this is what he hears. “Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.” Revelation 4:11
Remember, Living a life of honor, leads to being honored…and the path to a life of honor begins with honoring the Lord. On this day I recall the life of my father-in-law and others who served their country well and honored the Lord with their life.