Saturday, July 29, 2006

All Rise

Every once in a while I find myself sitting in a courtroom. No, I'm not a lawyer or in need of a lawyer. I'm not suing anyone for some injury I may or may not have suffered while driving, climbing a ladder placed in front of a door, or placing a cup of scalding coffee between my thighs. I'm just an observer. But it's obvious that the position of judge carries with it a boatload of respect. How do I know? Because whenever the judge enters the courtroom, Rusty the bailiff instructs everyone to "All rise."

We show our respect for the office of judge by standing when the person filling the office walks in to proceed with the actual business of judging. There aren't a lot of other jobs where this type of respect is shown. I've never met a sitting U. S. President, but I'd bet most everyone stands when he enters a room. I've met my fair share of other politicos -- governors, congressmen, etc. -- and I've stood when greeting them, but no more so than when I greet the trash collector. There just aren't many jobs which carry with them, a certain amount of respect.

In days gone by, preachers used to get a bit of that respect. Those days are long gone now, many thanks to Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and countless others who tried to cover up the fact that they were simply fallible human beings. I heard a rabbi once mention that whenever he gets pulled over by the police, he always places his "CLERGY" sign cleverly in the left front window of the car... just in case it helps him get a warning instead of a citation. Me, I figure there are enough people gunning for preachers, that I keep my calling to myself in such cases unless I'm asked!

Ever think about the amount of respect we give to our Creator? I do. The position of earthly judge has nothing on the position of heavenly judge. An earthly judge enters the room and we rise to our feet. Seeing the heavenly judge before should make us at least drop to our knees, if not fall prostrate on our face before Him.

But for now, we aren't blessed with His physical presence, so let's think about the respect we show Him anyway. It used to be that we would put on our "Sunday Best" every weekend and toddle off to "God's House" and be on our best behavior, all as a show of our respect for God. Of course, eventually we figured out that even though we were in God's presence in the church building when we looked all pretty, we were also in God's presence on Monday afternoon when we were all grimy and sweaty and a couple of miles away from "God's House". Respect is more than physical posture. Respect is more than the clothes we wear, or our location, or our outward behavior.

Respect for God begins inwardly and is then expressed outwardly. Maybe we express it in the way we dress, but it's so much more than that. It's the way we are.

In my sinfulness, I give God nowhere near the respect He deserves. In my selfishness, I give God only leftovers after I have pleased myself first. In my shallowness, I fail to give God much of anything meaningful at all.

All rise? Yeah, right.

"Lord, I pray that You would continually remind me of who You are and who I am, to help me remember just how marvelous and awesome You really are."

3 comments:

Kim said...

I have similar discussions with my kids about how they demonstrate respect toward their father and me. They don't seem to think they need to do anything; it should be enough that they say it to us. I keep telling them that respect for others is evident in how we treat them; it shows in our attitude. If we have even the tiniest amount of respect for God that ought to have, it should show in our attitude.

4given said...

I really enjoyed this post. My kids are at youth camp this week studying Romans 12 on respect. Their theme is "No Pride".

Very God-honoring article here.
To God be ALL the glory.
Lisa

Mick said...

Great message. It's the need to keep a reverant fear in our hearts or our Creator.

Mick