02 November 2010

My Standing Ovation Rules Just Changed!

Man did I get convicted two weeks ago.  It happened in church, and had absolutely NOTHING to do with the sermon, or the worship music.

This post will be short, unless I ramble on like Matt says not to do at The Church of No People. 

Anyway, I grew up in a fundamental baptist church here in the capital city, and our pastor had political clout.  Serious clout around our state and region.  We had all kinds of news broadcasts, live simulcasts, and political conventions at our church in the Reagan 80's!  We were the place to be seen for candidates.  We even allowed a democratic (egad) gubernatorial candidate into our midst for a debate!  I am sure he was intimidated beyond belief!!

I remember one such night when we were having an Eagle Forum Rally with candidates for every major office in Alabama in attendance.  Jerry Falwell was there to speak, and there were at least 15 news crews there.  One by one, the candidates would come up to say a brief word (5 minutes or so) to get the crowd in a Republican, Conservative frenzy!!  And everytime one of them would be introduced, we would stand and give them a standing O.  Of course as a teen, I didn't want to, but I did anyway.  Stood there clapping like a clueless fool, then I would sit down, daydream or try to sneak a way to hold hands with the girl next to me, then stand and clap all over again.

We started with the Governor, then worked our way down.  It was amazing how the Governor spoke, then magically disappeared from the stage with no fanfare to get to the house before the lower-billed folks spoke.  Amazing.

The last person who got up was a guy named Claud, who was a member of our church, and was running for State House of Reps.  Not the lowest on the totem pole, but pretty far down there.  The TV cameras left about an hour before his chance to speak, but when introduced, there we were, standing, clapping for Claud.  Claud, whose fence I had painted one summer for a grand total of $20.  Worked out to about 9 cents an hour.  His daughters and I were friends and played pool together while he and my parents ate pie and had coffee into the wee hours.

My point is, he was just a regular guy.  I had seen him without a shirt on, and it wasn't pretty!

But I gave him a standing ovation.

Two Sundays ago, we had a guest missionary from Frontline Ministries at our worship service.  He is from Lima, Peru, and has devoted his LIFE to proclaiming THE GOSPEL to the NEEDY and POOR.  His wife, who is from Georgia, met him on a short-term missions trip, they fell in love, stayed in contact (talk about a long-distance relationship!), then married him knowing full well that she would never have the lifestyle that lower middle class Americans have.  She works with abused women and children in an orphanage/home they run in Lima. 

When they were introduced to our congregation, I clapped a few pitiful claps and sat on my lazy, apathetic butt.

While they were sharing the wonderful work they are doing, my heart broke.  For Lima.  But also for myself and our church. 

Who deserves more honor?

The politician or the missionary?

The quarterback or the kid who volunteers at the homeless shelter?

The celebrity or the worship leader at our church?

An argumentative person would say "none of them do.  Only GOD deserves to be honored," but I believe by honoring those who do HIS work, that is exactly what we are doing.

It doesn't matter if it is the President of the United States, or our friend Claud, the MISSIONARY deserves more honor.  If we are truly pilgrims in this world, then who is more important?!?!  Not in the eyes of man, but in the eyes of Father!?!

I guarantee this.  The next time a missionary speaks at my church, there will be one person standing and applauding.  There may be only one, but there will be one.


  1. I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree. Surely American politics is in need of God, and if someone runs for office with the intent to serve with integrity, that can be their area of ministry.

    I think it doesn't matter so much what our calling is, but rather, are we obedient? Do we put our own interests first, or God's interests?

    It seems to me that there is a difference between importance and honor. We are all important to God, but we should honor those who are faithful to His calling, whatever that may be.

  2. Leslie, I think you are dead on. I was perhaps not as thoughtful when I wrote this. My basic point was I am a worm for not applauding the missionary, not that I shouldn't have applauded the politicians...It was the only analogy I could come up with at the moment...Your point is valid and very well said! Thank You for calling me on it!!!

  3. Boo! Politicians!
    Yeah! Missionaries!

    I don't believe Christian politicians really exist. Either the person is a politician, but not really a Christian; or else, they are a Christian, but have no chance of ever getting elected in this country and therefore would never be referred to as a politician.

    Standing O's should be reserved for funerals only. If the person lived a God-honoring life that was effective for the kingdom, then they get a standing O at the discretion of the funeral attendants. If not, then no standing O should be given. Either way, the deceased won't know and it won't ever be a temptation to pride in their life.

    Appreciation is overrated. Most standing O's are bull. Politicians are all corrupt regardless of their faith. Missionaries will get their rewards in heaven.

    Argumentatively yours,

  4. Btw, I really liked the post. I just am in one of those moods.