The Desire for Honor

The word “honor” seems harmless and innocent. It comes from the Greek word “time” or “timao,” which refers to worship, esteem, and honor of people and worth, value, and price of things.[1] It denotes “the proper recognition one enjoys in the community because of one’s office, position, wealth, etc., and then the position itself, the office with its dignity and privileges.”[2] However, we should be careful of how we desire and use honor. Our desire for honor can lead to either a positive or negative impact on our own life and the lives of others.

If we desire or seek honor for our personal gain or glory, this can lead to a negative impact and destruction of our lives or others’ lives. One solid example of this is Haman in the narrative of Esther.

Esther 3:1-2 says: “After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.” Haman’s desire for personal honor led to his evil plan to destroy the Jews, including Mordecai. However, Haman was destroyed by his own scheme and evil plan.

On the other hand, if we desire honor for the wellness or well-being of others, it will bring peace and blessing to others and ourselves. Jon Tyson describes this wonderfully: “Honor is the call to recognize the value someone possesses and esteem that person rightly.”[3] Tyson further states that true honor is to see someone for whom he or she can become. This proper use of honor possesses the power to change the Church and heal the world. Jesus is the best example of such positive honor. Tyson also writes: “He saw people crowned with glory, worthy of welcome and recognition in the community of God.”[4]

Therefore, let us desire honor as Jesus demonstrated so that we will “recognize the value in God and one another and . . . order our relationships around it.”[5] May this be the operating system in our lives as children of God.


[1] Verlyn D. Verbrugge, Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), p. 564.

[2] Ibid., p. 564.

[3] Jon Tyson, Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2020), p. 97.

[4] Ibid., p. 105.

[5] Ibid., p. 104.