The world usually doesn’t use the words “honor” and “service” in the same breath. The world doesn’t like to serve, and often considers it a bother and a burden rather than an honor, when it must serve. Honor, the world thinks, is found in being served; and so it pushes and shoves, claws and fights for the top of the pyramid. Sometimes it is through words or law or manipulation and sometimes it is through actual fighting and war. To serve another is considered proof of inferiority—inferiority of station, money, or strength. Thus, everyone in the world wants their own way, wants to call all the shots, wants others to do their bidding.
But Jesus came and modeled a whole new understanding about service. Though equal to the Father, He willingly served the Father’s will. And despite being far, far greater than any man, Jesus washed the feet of men (John 13), healed their sicknesses (Matt. 8:2,3), and died for their (our) sins (2 Cor. 5:21). And He taught, “…’If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’” (Mark 9:35). In the Kingdom of God there is not only honor in service; there is sacred honor.
It was David’s sacred honor and role to serve in the army of king Saul, in spite of the fact that he had already been anointed and was arguably a superior warrior and leader. It was Jonathan’s sacred honor and role to yield the throne he was supposed to occupy by inheritance to David, because of God’s choice. John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of the great Elijah’s return, but even so, it was his sacred honor to step aside in service to Jesus as Messiah and recognize his role as the forerunner to Someone whose sandals he was unworthy to untie.
In the broader world, it is the ruler’s sacred honor to serve the needs of his country and his people (for which he will give an account to God, Daniel 5:24-29), and the people’s sacred honor to serve their rulers (Romans 13:1ff). Commanded by God.
In the family, it is the husband’s sacred honor and role to serve the needs of his family. It is wife’s sacred honor and role to submit to her husband and meet the needs of her children. It is the children’s sacred honor to serve their parents through obedience and to honor them when they grow old. (See Ephesians 5:22—6:4.)
In the church, it is the elders’ (Acts 20:28-32), preacher’s (2 Timothy 4:1-5), and deacons’ (1 Timothy 3:13) sacred honor to serve the spiritual and physical needs of their congregation. It is the congregation’s sacred honor to serve one another and obey their leaders as they follow the Lord (Hebrews 13:17). And it is the brothers’ role of service in the church to lead in worship and teaching, while it is the sisters’ role of service to either follow the men (as they follow the Lord) or lead other sisters and children, not exercising authority over men (1 Timothy 2:8-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-40).
Even the Father in Heaven serves. Daily filling us with gracious blessings too many to list. Yes, there is a sacred honor in service that makes this life a little taste of Heaven, when we fill our roles.
Yet, some still chafe at the idea of service and roles. Certainly the world, but Christians, too.