by Tad Lindley
Remember when you were younger and they used to tell the young men, “Make sure that you dump honey buckets for elders, so you can become a good provider when you grow up.” It is a Biblical principle. We will not see Jesus in the flesh until the last trumpet sounds, but he left us some very clear instruction on how we can bless him in the meanwhile. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells the people, that when we have done something for other people who need our help, it is as if we have done it directly for him!
What if the tables were turned?
And so generations of boys going to the homes of elders in the community and lifting up the honey bucket, carrying it out the door, and bringing it to the black bin or the river or wherever. But imagine this scenario instead: you look out the window and see a stooped elder coming down the boardwalk toward your house. You assume that he will pass by, but you hear his footsteps on the stairs and then in the porch. The door creaks open and he goes straight to the honey bucket. “Poor, he must be ciikaq,” you think to yourself, but he walks back out from behind the curtain carrying your nearly full honey bucket and says, “Taiciqua!” It would be so awkward. You would be so humbled. If it happened to me I would say, “No, no, let me get that. I am the one that should be going to your house and emptying your honey bucket!”
The Bible teaches us that Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31 ESV) Elders are to be respected. Because they have gone ahead of us and they have a position that we are taught to respect. When someone above us comes down to our level, they have “condescended”. And when a person above us comes down to our level, it is a great honor.
Turn up the condescension
Now imagine for a moment that it wasn’t just any elder that came to your house. Imagine that it was President Biden or President Trump (you pick based on your politics). And let’s go further and imagine that they came not to your house, but they went to one of the poorest party houses in town, and you saw the president go in with his secret service agents and come back out carrying a full honey bucket and heading down the boardwalk with it.
All of that is nothing…
Jesus came all the way down from heaven and became a man (if you don’t believe me, read Colossians 2:9 and I Timothy 3:16) for the ultimate purpose of letting his human body be tortured, humiliated, and hung up naked to die in front of his own creation. How much more of a stretch is this than an elder emptying your honey bucket? The Bible describes what Jesus did like this: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)
Can I paraphrase that for a moment?
The Bible is saying that, yes, if someone is super worthy maybe they are worth dying for, but you guys weren’t even close to worthy. You were sinners. You were partiers, gamblers, liars, gossipers, thieves, proud, arrogant, boastful, condemning, violent, abusive, sexually immoral, corrupt, drunk, high, stoned, dope sick, adulterous, fearful, idolatrous and on and on, and yet he still came and died for you anyway. And that was God’s way of showing his love for us!
Have you thanked Him?
It is so amazing that God, who has the power to wipe us out, like he actually did in the days of Noah, instead would have chosen to make a tremendous sacrifice so that unworthy of it as we are, we might have a chance to live life and live it more abundantly. How do we give thanks for that? Let me tell you how he would like us to thank him:
1. Keep his commandments. If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
2. Sacrifice for him, because he sacrificed for us. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV)
Is your life saying thanks to Jesus for the price he paid for you?
Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.