Honoring our Authority

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As I was looking down my Twitter feed on June 16, 2014, every other post was dedicated to "Mr. Padre," Tony Gwynn. Gwynn died of cancer that day having gone down in history many years ago as one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Amassing a career .338 average and over 3,000 hits over his illustrious career, I remember watching videos as a kid of him teaching hitting drills because even then I knew that he was one of the greatest hitters of all-time. In the world of baseball we honor men like Tony Gwynn, and rightfully so. As kids we mimic their stance and as coaches at higher levels we use their swing to teach advanced players. Being a hitter like Tony Gwynn demanded that others honored the hitting ability that he possessed. But what does this term "honor" actually mean?

In our Christian lives we often talk of “love”, “respect”, “encouragement”, as well as other terms, but I rarely hear people talking about honor. However, the term “honor” is used almost 150 times throughout the Bible. Romans 13:7 says, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” As players or as coaches, we seldom show the honor that we are called to show.

As a player, I remember the conversations I had about my coaches and what I thought they should do. As a coach I have often lacked in giving the appropriate honor due to umpires (as some of you may be able to attest). However, our Biblical mandate has nothing to do with whether a person has “earned” honor. In the verse from Romans, the Roman taxes are paid to people in authority, whether you agree with their position or not. As a citizen, taxes need to be paid, and that correlation continues down to the fact that honor needs to be given because of the position an individual holds. In fact, this passage starts by saying, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

As a player God has placed an authority over me, a coach, and as Romans says my mandate is then to give honor to that coach and acknowledge that his authority has been placed there by God, whether they do everything perfectly or not. In a game, my authority is an umpire, we all know umpires get things wrong, however they have been give authority over me as a coach and that authority has been given by God.

Do you as a player or a coach give the honor to those who are in authority over you? What does it mean to give honor? We are called to do it yet the meaning is not as straightforward as we might like.

I am going to continue to write about "honor." As I write and you journey with me, please contact me at lsawyer@fca.org with your thoughts on "honor" and what our call as Christians means to give “honor”.