LET MY LIMELIGHT SHINE...Lessons From Joseph's Brothers.Gen. 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.How did Joseph's brothers feel when their father honoured him above them? We call it jealousy. But it was actually envy. Joseph's brothers felt it.
Jesus told parables involving honour. For example, there was the parable about those who had been working the full day and expected to get paid more than those who had only worked an hour. Jesus shocked His audience by describing the honouring of those who had only worked an hour above those who had worked all day!
The Apostle Paul confronted people's poor reaction to others being honoured when he wrote to the Romans and told them the remedy for envy: outdo one another in showing honour.
In another parable of Christ, He told of servants who had been working a long day, and came into their Master's house expecting to relax (and maybe even get a little thanks). Instead, they were called upon to continue serving and honour their master. Rather than thinking they are being hard done by, the Lord Jesus said that they should be glad that another is being honoured and consider that they are merely lowly servants who live to honour others with their service (Luke 17:10). Many of these teachings abouthonour were given before a crowd of Pharisees who loved to be honoured - and hated it when others were.Matthew 23:6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagoguesWe will at times ache because we are not recognised or acknowledged. How many mothers feel taken-for-granted? How many employees feel unappreciated? How many people on a church roster feel overlooked? It's nice to be honoured, but unfortunately it happens all too rarely.
Joseph's brothers could not tolerate that their father Jacob would so overtly honour Joseph over them. As a pastor, I've seen this emotion stirred many times when I've publicly honoured someone. "You thanked them from the pulpit! But I deserve thanks to! Why didn't you thank me?!" After this sort of thing happened far too many times, I realised that honouring someone actually tests others. Honouring someone flushes out what is in another's heart. It reveals why they are doing what they are doing. Afterall, in serving Christ we should be serving to glorify Jesus and promote His Cause - regardless of who gets recognised for it. Right?
So it's probably time for a confession: The problem with someone else being honoured is that it feels like I'm notbeing honoured. It's as if I'm being deprived something. This is hardly an attitude that glorifies Christ, because Jesus calls me to "decrease" and to help others "increase". I request your patience as I try to adjust my attitude to be more Christlike - especially when someone else is being honoured. My attitude adjustment is being helped by some things that I am discovering -
The God we worship is a God of infinite love. Because He loves someone, does not mean that I get less of His love. Since honour is an aspect of love, when soneone is honoured, it actually does not mean that I am deprived of anything. You receive what you give away. It's almost counter-intuitive. The Bible repeatedly refers to "sowing and reaping" - that is, what you sow (give away) is what you will reap. If I want recognition and honour for what I do, I need to recognise and honour others. Honouring others is good for me. It takes humility to honour another. To clap, support, present, another helps me to develop my humilty. According to James 4, it's only when I am humble that I qualify for more of God's grace. Honouring helps me to fulfil the Great Commandment. Honouring, giving someone someone a clap / a cheer / a gift / a public recognition / a card of appreciation / a public tribute - is showing love. To love others is the Great Commandment of Christ and is repeated in John's epistles as the hallmark for mature Christianity.
"The real power of effective leadership is maximising other people's potential, which inevitably demands also ensuring they get the credit. When our ego won't let us build another person up, everything has to build us up, then...we have stopped leading..."
Brigadier Jim Wallace, cited in HUMILITAS, by Dr John Dickson, page 156I want to be a person of honour- that is, I want to be a perspn who honours others and celebrates those who are honoured. To "honour" is to regard as important. I want to help others feel important. From what I read in Scripture, it is important for me to make others feel important by showing them expressions of unconditionallove. To honour someone is to promote them as important. (For those who are married, you may recall that honouring was an integral aspect of your marriage vows.)
When I honour a leader I look for a couple things: their response, and the response of the other leaders around them. How a person receives honour says a lot about them. How a person reacts when another is being honoured, says a lot about them. Notice how Jesus regarded honour?John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.It's nice to be thanked - to be thanked publicly. That's honouring. It's nice to be acknowledged - by our children, our parents, our co-workers, our team-mates. But it doesn't always happen. Thankfully, as children of God, we have a Heavenly to Whom All Honour is due who amazingly graces His children with His honour-John 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.Wow! The God of the Universe is secure enough to honour, celebrate, recognise, thank, reward, His Servants! Man may not see, but God always does. The next time you're not being honoured, don't pout (like I do) insteadrejoice with those rejoice (Romans 12:15), and join in seeking to fulfil Romans 12:10 ("outdo one another in showing honour"). Then one day, in fact, the day, our Father in Heaven will become the source of your previously unimagined honour. I wonder how the account of Joseph and his brothers would have been different if they had honoured they colour-coated sibling instead of envying and despising him?
Ps. AndrewFather, help us to honour one another. Lord, we live in a world where it is all-too-easy to tear others down and ridicule - rather than to promote others and honour them. Oh God, I pray that we can honour our spouses, our children, our parents, our leaders, our family, our friends, our team-mates. Help us at Legana to create a therepeutic culture where honour abounds and envy and pouting is rare. May we draw our security, affirmation, and identity from You and what You've revealed to us in Your Word, in Jesus' Name, Amen.Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.