WHAT ABOUT HONOUR?

What about honour?

My Mum happens to operate with prophetic gifting and in fact, some things she does can be so bizarre that we disagree silently. My mum isn’t your usual kind of charismatic woman who prays on top of her voices or even prays in tongues vibrantly. If my mum has ever prayed in other tongues, then that must be in her very closet because till today I don’t know how it sounds on her lips. My mum doesn’t stand to pray too, she sits down, sing one of those local songs like “odogwu kariri odogwu, odogwu kariri odogwu” (an Igbo song that means “there is a warrior mightier than warriors”) and suddenly, she would open her eyes to tell you what God has revealed to her, ask for your agreement in prayers and start praying. In a few minutes, she is done and you feel like “but this isn’t a powerful prayer”. Then, you are disappointed by instant miracles that begin to take place.

My mum is that typical minister that would ask you to go to your homeland and get some soil that she will be praying with it and she is also that kind of minister that will ask you to buy an egg, pray over it and tell you what to do with it. I grew up in her arms, I knew how she never wanted to practice her gifting for a moment and how she wanted to just live like a normal Christian woman but God kept insisting that she use her gifting. My mum didn’t go for any special anointing, neither did she had to submit to anyone for mentorship and all of that, necessity laid that burden on her to practice her gifting. For many years, she always refuses gifts and offerings from people and would always direct them after praying for them to the Anglican Church we used to attend then.

Many times, it comes to certain points where it seemed we both share a different view but mum agrees so well that God has given me the gift of teaching, she doesn’t joke with God’s calling upon me and she once said to me after I finished ministering in a service we both attended “George, God has gifted you so much in the area of teaching. The way you bring light to shaded areas with the word gives me goose pimple.” My mum holds firmly to God’s grace and believes that it has never been by works.

No matter the level of my disagreement with mum, whenever she calls me to say “George, I saw this and that about you…” I take it seriously as she has been there from my childhood talking to God about me. I remember when it seemed I was deviating, mum would always groan and cry to God for me in prayers. Why am I telling these stories? I just want to draw a few lines and that is the end.

My father married my mum when she was still very young, she was attending secondary school from her husband’s house and you can imagine that! My father was older in age although very young too and from all indication, my father would have regarded himself as wiser and stronger, therefore, letting his opinions count on every side. It is a common practice in Africa to think that women are light-brained and would always say things that don’t count. But that is not the case with my dad.

They have been married for about 30 years now, they have had five children together, they have had a common disagreement and common fights and mum have cooked for him all these while and they have had intimacy that would have made familiarity a common sight between them but guess what? My dad still honours my mum as the woman sent from God to him, he has always regarded mum as his pastor and has respected God’s calling on her all these years. My dad still kneels before my mum to be prayed for when he is having issues and my dad still says to mum “bless me before I go out today!”

Talk about age, my dad is older than mum and probably more exposed than her haven traveled within cities and even outside Nigeria but he will never let his exposure rob him of the honour he has towards mum. First, she is his wife and secondly, she is his woman from God because it was mum that brought him to the light! My dad will never seek counsel from anybody that isn’t his woman from God neither will he stand you talking against her for any reason. And he has been enjoying the benefits associated with honour!

No matter how I don’t do exactly what mum does, I know our callings are different and I stand at attention the moment she tells me “George, stand right there! Don’t go ahead with that.” I have turned down certain offers because mum told me God said to her it is a waste of time. I have gone out of relationships because mum told me that woman isn’t for me. Listen to me, it is not like she controls me like a robot! I discern every single thing she has said to me even if she says it in a way that it sounds odd with what I have always believed but there has been a consistent result with hearkening to her. Whenever it seems I want to do it my own way, I always see reasons to listen to her. Yet, we don’t agree hundred per cent on everything but I honour her haven heard the gospel from her and grown in the word from her.

Ask any of my siblings, we were never that family that carried Church in the head. We skipped services a lot and wasn’t fully engaged in the activities of the Church but mum made sure she brings Church home to her children and every single day we took turns in studying the Bible and teaching ourselves every night. It wouldn’t have been so if it was only our dad we had, mum ensured we grow in the knowledge of the word. Mum was instrumental to the growth of every one of us including my dad and even the extended families from both our maternal side and paternal side.

We have been so familiar with this woman, dad married her as a young secondary school girl, we grew up playing around with her and people wondered if she was truly our mother or big sister! But my dad has not let this familiarity rob him of the honour he has for her and I have not let it rob mine too! Sometimes, I and my siblings would gather round to express our disagreements with certain things mum do, I would want to emphasis on speaking in tongues and teaching the Bible but even after that, we do not let those disagreements rob us of that honour. Once mum says a thing, we hold it to high esteem whether it sounds very or less convincing.

This isn’t just about honouring someone’s spiritual gifting! Honour people for who they are and what they represent. To honour someone doesn’t mean following robotically, it means holding that person in high regard with great respect. To honour the office of a minister means to respect God’s calling upon His ministers. First, we honour the calling of every believer even at the moments of disagreement and then we honour those who have been called specifically for us. When we allow dishonour comes to in, we will not be able to receive whatever it is they are giving us. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:17 “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.”

Honour doesn’t mean swallowing people’s ideas hook-line-sinker, it means respecting them and never looking down on them. It is not dishonouring to search the scriptures and confirm if your Pastor is teaching the truth and it is not dishonouring to subject everything to the authority of God’s word because we honour Christ first and then we honour the rest of the body of Christ. The Bible says concerning the Bereans in Act 17:11 “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” You see that? As much as they never disrespected Paul, they spent days studying the Bible to confirm if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth before they could accept their words.

You don’t need to believe just every single thing your Pastor has said before you can honour him or her as your Pastor. Let me set the record straight, I have never had a Pastor who I might say that I accepted 100 words out of the 100 words they had spoken about. There are things I am personally convinced about that is rooted in the word that a suggestion of a Pastor can’t uproot in me but it can never call for dishonour or even denial! For instance, I believe that God created both the male and female to be equal in the society while displaying their distinct qualities and to be frank, I am not sure I have sat under any Pastor who shares exactly the same thought with me. In fact, one had said “feminism is demonic!” but I still honour him, I still love him and I still listen to him acknowledging his pastoral role in my life.

Honour isn’t just for leaders, we honour ourselves and we double the effort to honour the leaders because of the extra sacrifice they are making in their labour to bring us to the knowledge of the truth. For instance, I make efforts every day to present these teachings to you despite my busy work schedules and it will not be out of place to double your efforts in showing me respect in response to what you are receiving of me. The Bible says in Romans 12:10 “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other. “

In summary of it all, honour simple means respect! Don’t let familiarity rob you of the respect you have for anyone especially those ones who deserve a double of it because the moment you dishonour a man or woman whom God has sent to you as a gift, you may be unable to unwrap the gift pack to see what they have got. Dishonour is practically synonymous to rejection!

God bless you!

~ George O.N

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