Great Honor

The goat given by Pastor Benedict Muendo and his wife Rose to honor me.

They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43).

In America we honor someone with a handshake and a $25 gift card to Starbucks Coffee. In Kenya, honor is bestowed in the slaughtering and eating of a goat.

I watched as the knife severed the neck of the goat. Matthew covered his ears and turned away moaning “Ohhhhhhhhhhh!” All the while our Kenyan hosts were repeating what a great honor was being bestowed on me.

The carcass was skinned, the entrails removed and cleaned for eating, the meat boiled into a quick stew, and the head stored away for a much-loved Kamba soup.

Different cultures have different ways of bestowing honor. Some may consider one form more tasteful (or more tasty) than others, but no one cultural form is better than another. Whatever means we might use of showing honor on the people we esteem, the honor truly of value is that which comes from God.

Our sinful nature seeks to be honored by others. Jesus, for example, condemned the Jewish religious leaders as hypocrites because they tailored their prayers to impress people (Matthew 6:5-6). We’ve all recognized those kinds of prayers when we’ve heard them, but God despises those kinds of prayers.

The Christian doesn’t live for the applause or reward that comes from other people, but desires the honor that comes from God alone.