During my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I played on the basketball team. I really enjoyed playing, but wasn’t the most talented of players. I had to really work hard, run hard, rebound, and play defense to have any shot of making the team. So that’s what I did; I worked hard. I went all out, all the time. I eventually played my way into a starting role, but it was short lived.
I was never very good at creating scoring opportunities for myself. So I talked with our freshman and JV coaches and asked what I should work on over the off season for next year. The JV coach’s response surprised me.
He said, “Scoring is the name of the game. Work on your shot.”
Now maybe it was a clash of philosophies but I had always been taught that defense wins championships. So when he said this, I thought- “This guys has no clue!” But he was the coach, so that’s what I did. I practiced all summer. I shot hundreds of jump shots all over the court. I was in the gym at 6 am before work and went back after work. I shot until I literally couldn’t lift my arms.
Try outs for JV and varsity came quickly. I made the JV team and this time I had a nicer shot than the year before. My hard work was paying off. I remember one particular scrimmage where I drained six 3 pointers in a row, missed one, and then rattled off another three before the scrimmage was over. Yet, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t understand. And my response wasn’t very mature. I started bad mouthing the coach to other people.
After a particularly difficult lose (one in which I didn’t get a lot of playing time) I was mouthing off to one of the other players when I heard someone call out behind me,
“Smith! What did you just say?”
I turned around and there was the varsity coach, staring me down. I had a choice: Apologize and hope for the best or stand my ground. I chose the latter. So I looked right back at him and said,
“You heard me.”
That game was the last game I would play in high school. Oh, I got slop time. But I never played in any real contest again.
The real problem wasn’t what the coach was or wasn’t doing, it was my disrespect. Whether I was justified or not is irrelevant. I was to honor my coach because he was my coach.
Take a look around; honor is not something that is a highly valued commodity in this culture. Getting mine is something that is held in high regard. If you disrespect me; I’m coming at you hard! You have to give respect to earn respect.
These are not concepts that should be in the life of a follower of Christ. We are called to honor. Regardless of the person, we are called to show respect and honor to all. We are called to treat others better than ourselves.
Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” There is almost no better example of this than Samuel. In the book of 1 Samuel we see Samuel living with Eli and his sons. While Eli’s sons are off doing whatever they please (and Eli not really doing anything about it) Samuel chooses to honor his adoptive father and family above himself. If you look in chapter 2 and verse 26, it sums it up nicely. “And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people.” This is said after it talks about Eli's sons sleeping around and doing harm to God’s people. It was because Samuel honored God in his dealing with his family that God blessed him as he did.
There’s a real important lesson for us as parents/ grandparents/ aunts & uncles/ guardians to implement in our lives; to honor others. That takes a lot of humility to do though. Proverbs 15:33 says “…humility comes before honor.” We have to humble ourselves on a consistent basis to do this. It’s vital our children see this in our lives. How can we expect our children to develop this in their lives if we are not willing to live it out in front of them?
Think about it. What’s your response when someone cuts you off in traffic? How do you respond to some that’s being rude and inconsiderate? How do you talk about people you may not like, when they’re not around? What are the things you say about your boss, while you’re home? And what do you say about elected officials around your kids?
All of our behaviors leave lasting impressions on our kids. If we want our children to honor others (especially people in positions of authority) we must model it for them first. We cannot expect for our kids to just suddenly start doing this on their own. It starts in the home, and more directly- it starts with you.