Honoring Each Other – Romans 12:10

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

The preacher had asked for volunteers for a work day. But no one stepped forward. So the preacher was the only one who showed up. It was manual labor jobs for a woman who was rather eccentric. He put on his overalls and gloves and went to work. The preacher had been to Bible College and Seminary where he held two degrees and four certificates. But he was not above getting his hands dirty. For him it was a labor of love and he wasn’t worried about any honor for the job so he quickly got to work cleaning gutters, digging out the ditch, and cleaning up the yard for the old lady. His reward was a luke-warm glass of Pepsi and a stale cookie that the widow had fixed for him. Before he left that day she tried to give him a dollar but instead he only took a hug as she smiled a big toothless grin.

At church, they were getting ready for the volunteers appreciation dinner the next day. After church there would be a fine meal of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and fruit salad. All the volunteers would be honored for their hard work as Sunday School teachers, deacons, choir members, youth leaders, and even the custodians. All of them were there decorating the fellowship hall and making preparations. Some of them were talking about the minister and trying to figure out why he wasn’t there helping. Each of them were busy preparing where they would would sit and admiring the plaque that would hang on the wall in fellowship hall with their names on it. They were really proud.

The next day the preacher said not a word about no one showing up. He didn’t mention the hard work or why he wasn’t helping with the meal. He simply preached his sermon from Luke 14:1-14. The congregation sat their rather fidgety wanting to get past this and on to the dinner of honor. Some notice how tired the preacher seemed to be this morning. Some even complained that this “wasn’t his best sermon”.

As the preacher concluded his words and as he looked up he notice the old woman, who hadn’t been out of her house in years, standing with her walker at the back of the auditorium. She was dressed in an old back dress with a black hat, vail, and white gloves. Her lipstick was rather heavy and uneven. Her shoes were dirty and the preacher concluded that she must have walked from her house to the church. But even so, she made her way down the aisle.

The preacher stopped what he was saying and went to help the woman. She looked at him with her toothless smile and said, “Thank you”. He directed her toward an empty seat but she just kept coming forward. She made her way all the way to the front and turned to address the audience.

“I know you think that I am just a crazy old woman,” she said in a high-pitched craggy voice, “but I want to place my membership here at this church.” She seemed a little shaky in her thoughts but she continued, “Any preacher who isn’t too high and mighty to put his words in action is the kind of preacher I want to have preaching my funeral.”

With her thoughts concluded the woman sat down on the front pew. Awkward silence filled the room for a few minutes before the preacher, with tears in his eyes, asked the congregation to sing the invitation hymn. The congregation was choked but they began to sing the song, “Will There Be Any Stars?”. There were several who rededicated their lives that day at church.

The dinner took on a new light too. The humbled volunteers were too embarrassed to put the plaque on the wall. Instead they hung a new sign that said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” The place of highest honor that day was not filled by any of the volunteers, or even the preacher, but by a woman with the biggest toothless grin you ever saw.

Dear Father, Help me to be a humble servant who honors others above myself. Help me to put the interest of others before my own. Help me to be a servant for you and to never be too proud to lend a hand to those in need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Will There Be Any Stars?
E.E. Hewitt and J.R. Sweney

I am thinking today of that beautiful land I shall reach when the sun goeth down;
When thru wonderful grace by my Savior I stand,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown
When at evenin’ the sun goeth down
When I wake with the blest, in those mansions of rest,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

In the strength of the Lord let me labor and pray,
Let me watch as a winner of souls;
That bright stars may be mine in the glorious day,
When His praise like the sea billow rolls

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown
When at evenin’ the sun goeth down
When I wake with the blest, in those mansions of rest,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

O what joy it will be when His face I behold,
Living gems at His feet to lay down;
It would sweeten my bliss in the city of gold,
Should there be any stars in my crown

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown
When at evenin’ the sun goeth down
When I wake with the blest, in those mansions of rest,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

Will there be any stars, any stars in my crown
When at evenin’ the sun goeth down
When I wake with the blest, in those mansions of rest,
Will there be any stars in my crown?

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