Before honor is humility.
This verse always reminds me of my Bible School days. Everyone at school had menial jobs to support the ministry and pay our way through school. We did everything from tree planting to roofing, lawn mowing to goat milking, and painting to janitorial work. Everyone wanted to get “raised up” (raised up was huge) to a ministry type position. The best scenario was to be sent out on a team to plant a church. I returned from one of those two month flesh burning tree planting trips to a swirl of rumors that I was getting raised up and sent out on a team. I was in heaven, at least I was until I got the assignment to report to the bus barn and wash buses. I fell headlong into the pit of depression. How did I get out? The Lord gave me today’s verse as a word directly to me. Before honor comes humility. I got it. Ministry was a great honor that I was about to step into. In order to receive that ministry spot, more humility was on the docket for me. Here is how Spurgeon describes it.
“Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it. If we empty our hearts of self God will fill them with his love. He who desires close communion with Christ should remember the the word of the Lord, To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word. Stoop if you would climb to heaven. Do we not say of Jesus, He descended that he might ascend? so must you. You must grow downwards, that you may grow upwards; for the sweetest fellowship with heaven is to be had by humble souls, and by them alone. God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit.”
So what about bus washing and church planting? I think it was that very bus washing day that someone from the office came to call me in to talk to the elders. My first ministry assignment was about to happen.
The thing that is hard for us mortals to grasp is that ministry isn’t that glorious. It’s basically working with people with huge issues. If you are still stuck on glory and celebrity and crowds and microphones- ministry is not for you. Ministry is for the broken, those with a broken heart for hurting people.