‘Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify themselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:14, 15).”’
When we esteem someone we respect and admire them; likewise when we honour them we regard them with great respect.
But who do we esteem and honour?
The answer will reveal something of ourselves; for the people we admire reflect our values and inclinations. If we love the world we esteem the world’s idols (1 John 5:21). We give them respect and honour; but if we love God and His people we abhor and despise what the world offers. Instead we give our greatest honour to the Son of God, whom we love and worship.
His Father confirmed His approval of Him when He declared, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17, 18),”’ but in great humility Jesus said of Himself, “If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing. It is My Father who honours Me (John 8:54).”
Because His Father honours Him, and for His great salvation, He deserves our greatest honour. At the end of time every person who has lived on earth will bow their knee to Him (Romans 14:11, 12). They will give to Him the honour and the glory He deserves.
Meanwhile men and women may seek honour and glory for themselves. They may esteem themselves highly, or they may believe they are insignificant and have no worth. They may even wish they had never been born; just like Job (Job 3:1-13) on account of his suffering, but unlike him with his steadfast faith( cf. 1:1; 19:25), they in their self-sufficiency and unbelief seek the temporary things of this world with its false gold and glitter. They admire their own kind, wishing they could be like their heroes whom they esteem. If only they could be like them, then they would bathe in glory and be happy.
How about us? Who or what do we esteem and honour?
Honour and Esteem in the World
At certain times of the year we see film stars, actors, singers and the like receiving awards and honours for what they do. Typically they love being in the spotlight as they receive their Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs. It seems to me there’s no end to award givings in many spheres such as the sciences, the arts, literature, music and medicine.
Then there’s the Queen! During her long reign she has conferred honours to hundreds, if not thousands, for their services to the country and to the world. At the beginning of each year, and on her ‘official’ birthday in June, the names of those to be honoured are made public. They may be in line for MBEs, CBEs, OBEs, Knighthoods and Damehoods. The general public may perceive these honours as well-deserved, meritorious awards.
At the bottom of the echelon there’s the MBE [Member of the British Empire], which is given to someone who has done outstanding service in a local community. Then comes the CBE [Commander of the British Empire], which is awarded to a leader who has played a substantial role at a regional level, or who has contributed significantly at a national level. Next there’s the OBE [Order of the British Empire] for people who have involved themselves in major projects, perhaps in business, or with charities or in the public sector. But the ‘jackpot’, the top prize is being given Knighthoods and Damehoods. They are given to people who have made major long-term contributions to society at a national or international level.
These special awards are highly treasured by the recipients, while a few do not accept them for their own reasons.
Honour and Esteem in God’s Kingdom
There are two realms of God’s united kingdom; they are His spiritual kingdom here on earth, and His spiritual kingdom in heaven, where the angels worship and honour Him and His Son (Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 7:11). Here on earth those who have been born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8), i.e., children of God (1 John 3:10) whose *souls have been enlivened by the Spirit, worship and honour both the Father and the Son. The Son dwells in them and they in Him (John 17:20-23).
As members of His kingdom on earth, they have fellowship with the Son and with His Father (1 John 1:3). They laud, honour and esteem Jesus; for He has redeemed them (Galatians 1:4) from their sin and from the penalty of sin. He is the Son of God, whose name is above all names (Ephesians 1:21).
As Christians they endeavour to: ‘Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another (Romans 12:10).’ They also try to: ’Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Philippians 2:3),’ and their desire is to: ‘Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king (1 Peter 2:17).’
What say you? Are these your desires and ambitions? Do you always honour God’s name (Exodus 20:7)? Do you know the difference between true gold and false gold?
*Mind, Soul and Body