A Note from Chris Adams: There are times that the Lord allows us to witness something that touches us in a way that we cannot forget. At times, it even keeps us up at night. One of those occasions is the subject of this post by guest writer, speaker, and ministry leader, Rachel Lovingood. As leaders, we can help others learn to respect what God values.
A couple of weeks ago I was coming home from an event. As I cleared security and headed to my gate, I noticed a large group of people (at a pretty small airport) grouped around a window. They were all very quiet, almost somber, and several had their phones up recording what was happening outside on the tarmac.
I found a small window to check it out for myself and what I saw gripped my heart. My plane was being unloaded, which was not unusual, but what was not the norm is that I saw the pilot and copilot standing by the conveyor belt, at attention. The ground crew also stood still and everyone who was out there was frozen—watching and waiting. I knew what was coming but couldn’t tear my eyes away. Then the flag-draped casket appeared, and the uniformed men saluted.
We all stood there. Completely quiet. Watching. Hurting for a family we didn’t even know. An older man turned to me and said “That’s one of our boys.”
It was a reminder of something that we’ve lost in so many levels in this country: respect.
Those few moments stayed with me as I traveled home. I kept reflecting on how much I appreciated the respect everyone showed. I thought about the family and prayed for them and I asked God what He might want me to learn from it.
That’s when it hit me. We live in a culture that has respect for nothing and no one. We are constantly encouraged to disrespect life, even our own. In the midst of this lack-of-respect culture, is it possible that we have lost some of our respect for the God we love and serve?
As leaders, we must constantly be aware of how easy it is to conform to the world we live in as opposed to being transformed by the living Word of God. Romans 12:2 is pretty clear that our goal should always be transformation, yet so often it seems we have been conformed.
Can you see ways that we have let respect for the Lord we serve fall to the wayside?
- God takes sin very seriously—do we? Or are we conforming to our culture and justifying all kinds of behaviors and attitudes?
- Do we spend more time pleasing people and seeking their approval than we do God’s?
- Does Scripture inspire awe in us the way it should?
- Do we respect the opportunities we have to be in God’s presence enough that we prepare for it?
- Do we respect that we have been given the privilege of leading the charge against darkness enough that we are willing to be different than the world?
- Do we respect God enough to make choices in order to please God or man?
- Do we respect ourselves enough to go after the abundant life that He has for us?
These are interesting questions to think through and ones that will hopefully give us some insight into areas of our lives in which we have fallen into the trap of being conformed instead of transformed.
Why does it matter? Well, do we care enough about the influence we have been given that we will do whatever it takes to lead people to Jesus through our words and our actions? What are some things you can do as a leader to encourage others to have more respect for Scripture or what it means to be in God’s presence?
Because the kind of respect that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords deserves is way more than just a ho hum, average kind of faith. It’s the kind of respect that is both taught and caught. We teach it, and we live it.
It’s the kind of respect and faith that causes us to stop and stand at attention (or fall to our knees) in the middle of a busy day because someone laid down His life for our freedom. There’s no greater sacrifice.
Rachel is the Senior Associate Pastor’s wife and a women’s leader at First Baptist Church, Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She is co-author of In Our Shoes: Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives, as well as Even More and Salvaging My Identity. Rachel uses her passion for Christ and her energetic style to encourage and teach women to find the answers they need from the only true source of wisdom—the Bible. She is the wife of a minister and mom of three fantastic kids.