I was raised on a farm in Rural East Texas. We didn’t have a lot and grew most of the vegetables we ate and either via fishing, hunting, raising a steer or a hog for butchering we provided most of the meat we ate. My parents worked hard and never complained about working hard. My grandparents were the same and were major influences in my life and my overall philosophy of life. Honor was important to them and it is to me. I don’t mean some Southern Mythological meaning of the word Honor I mean things like – A man’s word is his bond. Doing what you say you will do. Honoring your parents as well as the property and dignity of others. Respecting your elders and giving a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.
On our farm we raised purple hull peas and sold them to whomever wanted them. Dad would offer them to friends, neighbors and anyone on the basis of a set price if they picked the peas and a little higher price if we picked them. The price difference was generally so minimal that almost everyone said they wanted us to pick the peas which often was my job. I would go out and pick a bushel of peas and come in only to be sent back to the field to pick at least another half bushel because my dad gave “Good measure, pressed down and shaken together.” I don’t ever remember him selling a bushel of peas as just a bushel. It would be at least a bushel and a half for the price of a bushel. To him it was a matter of honor, treating other people the way he would have wanted to be treated and making sure no one could ever say he short-changed them in anything.
As a teenager I was somewhat rebellious and on one occasion while working for an uncle in the plum and peach orchards near Grapeland I got mad and decided I wasn’t going to work anymore that day. I went and laid down under the shade of a Peach tree and spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing. My dad found out about it that night and told me to go back the next day and talk to the man that owned the orchard not my uncle. I was to apologize and ask to be taken back but if the man did not take me back I was to refuse to accept pay for the week. That was on Friday and I had worked all week. To him it was a matter of honor. I never pulled that little stunt again. The man took me back only because my uncle asked him to. I learned honor from my parents and tried to teach it to my children. They have turned out to be fine young men and I hope that at least at little of what I attempted to teach them has been influential in their lives.
I went to Vietnam as a church going sinner. I grew up in church and in that old country church the men sat in the front on the right, the women in the front on the left and the teenagers sat in the back behind the men. Most of the men slept through the sermons, most of the women watched us teenagers and most of us laughed and cut up through the sermons. I don’t know how the preacher stood it! I watched church fights and saw some of the people especially the men in places they should not have been doing things they should not have been doing. I was there along with my friends and formed an idea (completely erroneous) that if these people were going to heaven God could not send me to hell. Thank God I didn’t die in Vietnam! It was a year after I came home that I accepted Christ and realized the gross error of my thinking. I realized that I could not compare myself with anyone nor should anyone compare themselves with me. I was the sole person responsible for my actions and not my environment, social status, economic status, educational status or breaks or lack thereof were responsible. It was me and me alone that would stand before God and give account.
Today, we have politicians who do not give a second thought to the perpetration of a lie, misrepresentation, use of deception or any other tactics to get what they want. People in business too frequently do the same. I even had a person tell me one time that they had a church life and a business life. My response was, “You are not a cat you don’t have nine lives. You have a life and your business, church, social, etc. lives all make up who you are. You are not several separate entities you are YOU!” You can’t be dishonest in business and then go to church get your religious fix and go back into the world for the next week and be something else. No, honor is 24/7/365 and 366 on leap year.
How would you feel about God if you got to the end and He said, “I know I told you that you’d have eternal life and even though you accepted Christ I’ve decided not to take you into heaven.” You certainly would not consider Him honorable. How would you feel about a business partner, associate or vendor that promised to do a job for a certain price, in a certain time frame but did not do it? You would not consider them honorable would you? Likewise a politician that promises something on the campaign trail and then fails to deliver, doesn’t try to deliver or worse yet goes completely in another direction do you consider that honorable? I don’t think so!
Honor is not something that you are born with it is something you learn and decide to make a pillar in your life. It is something that you do because it is something you are. It is something you exhibit even when you don’t feel like it, don’t want to do it and could easily not do it and suffer no visible detriment. It is doing the right thing when no one sees as well as when everyone sees. Honor is not an action it is a state of heart and a character quality that is learned and developed. If children do not see honor in their parents where will they see and learn it? If non-believers do not see honor in us who will bring the good news to them? I was told one time and have never forgotten, “You are the only Bible some people will ever read. What is the gospel according to you?” Let that sink in for a second.
I prayed for patience once and never had so many problems in all my life. When I complained about it I heard in my heart, “Well you asked for patience and I’m trying to help you learn and develop it.” Since then I’ve been cautious about asking for certain things. But I do pray the prayer with David in Psalms:
Psalms 51:6-13 – – “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart , O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.” NASU
The rest of the Chapter should be quoted too but for my point simply our desire should be to have a clean heart and clean hands before God. That would be to walk and live in Honor! When I pray for our leaders that’s how I pray that God will bring to bear on them and cause them to see His way and bring them into the light. If they are practicing deception to bring that to the light. Bring them to Honor! What would our great nation be if our politicians were HONORABLE MEN AND WOMEN? What would our churches be if all our ministers walked as HONORABLE MEN AND WOMEN? What would our economy be like if every business man and woman conducted all business HONORABLY? What would our families be like if WE walked as MEN AND WOMEN OF HONOR? I’m not saying you don’t I’m just saying what would it be like if we all did all the time? The world would never have seen the revival that would take place. There would be an immediate cessation of the murder of innocent babies. There would be a marked decline in the divorce rate. Crime would decrease dramatically and politicians would operate with the genuine interest of the people. Yes it would be somewhat Utopian and no I don’t expect to see every human practice this but if I can encourage myself and even one other person to live this way I fully believe that I will have impacted lives that will in turn impact multitudes.
Again, I ask WHAT HAPPENED TO HONOR?