Recently I was trying to wedge my motorcycle into the tight bike parking area of our local grocery store’s parking lot. There was a tree one one side, a car on the other, and in the middle an older lady trying to get on back of a motorcycle which her daughter was driving. Before she could get on she was struggling to get all the grocery bags strapped to the bike and all around her, and it was taking a while before they could get it all saddled up and take off. The parking lot attendant was trying to help them.

It was a busy day. I was coming from one appointment and already late for another meeting. I was planning to swing by the store, grab a few things, and be on my merry fast-paced way again.
But here I was being forced to wait. So I did what you would have done. I revved up my motorcycle a couple of times so they could get the hint. Vroom Vroom. Hurry Up.  The mother-daughter duo glanced up at me anxiously, now even more frantic to take off, and made their way from the parking lot into the busy street. 
Actually I realize that’s not what you would have done. You would have smiled at them and waited patiently. But that’s not what I did. My soul was in too high of a gear to consider anybody or anything else but me, myself and my to-do list.
Honoring others requires that you down-shift your soul enough to value the person standing in front of you (or sitting on her motorcycle). Honor is a recognition that who they are and what they contribute is valuable.   
A Type-A personality friend of mine joked once that he sometimes treats fellow humanoids as “these things with eyes that get in my way.” Honor is the opposite of that. I like the way Gary Smalley succinctly defines it: "Honor is a way of accurately seeing the immense value of a person made in God's image.”[i]
Woah! That person that you will interact with today—spouse, child, parent, co-worker, boss, friend, neighbor, or stranger—every single one of them is made in God’s wonderful image. Will you honor them as such? Will you treat them as immensely valuable, important enough to slow down for?  
Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”[i]  He dares give us this difficult mandate because we are following Jesus, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…”[ii]
In other words, if anyone had the right to act hurried and important, it was Jesus. Though He was in the very nature God, He didn’t throw his Son of God weight around but came to serve as a simple servant. We can too because He did.
Slow down and honor somebody today. Marvel at them as an image bearer of God.  Smile at them and wait patiently. 

[i] Gary Smalley, “I Promise: How 5 Essential Commitments Determine the Destiny of Your Marriage,” Thomas Nelson, 2006

[ii] Philippians 2:3, NASB

[iii] Philippians 2:6-7, NASB
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Take A Walk

On the south coast of Java this past weekend, I played on a beach that is accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles or motorcycles that dare.  I guess the other way would be if you happened to be born in one of the nearby fishing villages and could walk there.


The beach is of course secluded.  Very beautiful and very secluded.  No stores, no beach hawkers selling trinkets, hardly any people there except a few lone fishermen and another jeep full of Indonesians who made their way through the dirt roads to the pristine location.  My son and his friends and I had the beach almost all to ourselves and we had a blast celebrating his 16th birthday together.


Impossible rock formations jutted out of the sea’s horizon.  Gigantic waves crashed against the coral and formed tide pools on the beaches, hiding millions of treasures of tiny seashells.  An overcast day protected us from the brutal tropical sun.  Waves to play in, sand to sculpt, a cave to explore, a fresh water lagoon to refresh ourselves…a perfect day.  I kept thinking, this is so much beauty for just two eyes to take in within the space of just one day.


The next day I found myself, almost automatically, in a better mood.  There was just an extra bounce of joy in my step.  I think some of the stresses of my life got washed away in that rumbling surf and crystal clear lagoon.


There’s something about God’s creation that makes our souls come alive.


I’ve heard it said that the writer C.S. Lewis didn’t feel his day was complete without a walk in the English countryside.  Maybe this was the inspirational source of his creative genius?  I tried in vain to find his exact quote, but I did discover that he would often walk on a picturesque path in Oxford along the River Cherwell called “Addison’s Walk,” named after a famous scholar.


Lewis would frequently stroll on that footpath with fellow writers like Hugo Dyson and J.R. Tolkien who created the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  In September of 1931, he recorded one such walk in a letter to a friend:


“He [Hugo Dyson] stayed the night with me in College… Tolkien came too, and did not leave till 3 in the morning… We began (in Addison's Walk just after dinner) on metaphor and mythinterrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining….We continued on Christianity: a good long satisfying talk in which I learned a lot….”[i]


Can you place yourself there on that green footpath, in the company of two creative geniuses, one who imagined Middle Earth and other Narnia, walking along a gentle English river together and talking about art, religion and philosophy until late in the night?  I think the setting must have been important for their creative friendship.  I can’t imagine their creative juices flowing that sweetly at a freeway McDonald’s over a rushed breakfast.


The connection between Creativity and Creation and Creator can easily be missed in our high-tech, fast-paced, as deep as a Facebook status update society.


A curtain opens in Revelation chapter four and gives us a glimpse into heaven.  Before the Lamb who was slain is revealed, the majestic living creatures and honored 24 elders are worshiping the Creator day and night.  What are they worshiping Him for?  His Creation.  From eternity past the elders cast down their crowns and cry out: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”[ii]


There is a rhythm in heaven that can be heard faintly when we are up close to God’s creation.  We can almost feel the pulse of the elders’ praises when we find ourselves exploring this big green and blue world.  We all long for our breath to be taken away by something beautiful.


How long has it been since your breath was taken away?  Go outside and take a walk today.  Your television screen, computer monitor or wireless gadget won’t do the trick.  You’ve got to crunch some some green grass under your feet, feel a soft breeze in your face, or maybe glimpse a sunset to get to that place of breath-taking awakening.


Lord, we want to gaze on the beauty of Your creation.  Help us make space for this.  Awaken our souls today with all that You have created.  Worthy are You, our Lord and our God.


[i] From “They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves,” Walter Hooper, editor, Collins, 1979


[ii] Revelation 4:11, NASB