is a Community in Christ:
Honoring and Affirming One Another
How do you feel about receiving compliments? How do you feel about someone noticing your work or affirming you for a job well done? How do you feel about giving compliments and honoring others?
Every body needs to be complimented and affirmed. There are some people who think or feel that taking the time to honor or affirm others may foster pride and arrogance. When we receive compliments or affirmation for an accomplishment or a task well done, we also need to realize that it is only by the grace of God that we have the abilities to do what we've done.
There is nothing more beneficial to a person, then a compliment or affirmation given in genuine, sincere love and encouragement as servants of Christ to one another. First of all, we are obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ to love one another. It is also a proven fact that people thrive and survive so much better emotionally, if they can give and receive affirmation and compliments.
Listen to these words from Romans 12:9-11, 16. If you don't know the context of these truths, read verse 1-16 and discover the motivation, power and blessings of these teachings written by the apostle Paul under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never flag in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Let me share with you the parable of “A Rabbit on the Swim Team” used in several writings by Chuck Swindoll, founder of the Insight for Living radio broadcasts and is currently the senior pastor of the Stonebriar Community Church of Frisco, Texas. This parable illustrates this teaching of appreciating and honoring each other for our unique capabilities and service for each other.
“Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world. So they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying, and to make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all of the subjects.“ ”The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying, and he was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable. So nobody worried about that—except the duck.“
“The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but he developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make up work in swimming.” “The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree top down. He developed “charlie horses” from overexertion, so he only a got a C in climbing and a D in running.” “The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a nonconformist. In climbing classes he beat all the others to top of the tree, but he insisted on using his own way to get there.”
Chuck Swindoll writes this, in response to the story. “Each of the creatures in the forest has it own set of capabilities in which it will naturally excel—unless it is expected or forced to fill a mold that doesn't fit. When that happens, frustration, discouragement and even guilt bring overall mediocrity or complete defeat. A duck is a duck—and only a duck. It is built to swim, not to run or fly and certainly not to climb. A squirrel is a squirrel—and only that. To move it out of its forte “climbing,” then expect it to swim or fly will drive a squirrel “nuts.” Eagles are beautiful creatures in the air, but not in a foot race. The rabbit will win every time unless of course, the eagle gets hungry.
The story and Chuck Swindoll's application is so true. In the life of the church and our own families, we need to appreciate and honor each other's capabilities and giftedness. The Lord made each of us as believers in the body of Christ with unique abilities, and we need to appreciate and affirm each other.
We faithfully need to thank the Lord, affirm and appreciate those who usher for the worship services or organize the refreshments after worship. We need to thank and honor those who make a meal or baked goods to share their concern and compassion. We need to appreciate those who give of their time and effort to serve on a committee min-istry area of church. We need to respect and honor those entrusted with the responsibilities of teaching, leading us as elders or deacons. May we affirm those who lead us instrumentally and vocally in our music during worship or in other settings! May we honor one another by taking the time to pray and seek God on behalf our friends in Christ! May we always be seeking ways to honor, affirm and compliment each other in Christ—likeness!
Each one of us is unique and special. May we not compare ourselves to others! Let us not put each other down. But let us be devoted to one another in Christ—like love, honoring one another above ourselves as His servants to each other.
Let us continue to affirm and honor each other in the fellowship of the friendships we share in Jesus Christ!
Striving to Serve,
-Pastor Perry DeGroot