Time to Honour

Honouring Faithful Elders. "The Lord ... will honour the one who honours Him" (1 Sam. 2:30; Jn. 12:26).

by Ruth Anna Dana


There is a shift occurring in the First Nations communities where we have served. The title “elder” is used less in reference to those senior in age, experience, and greater responsibility. Now more often “elder” refers to a traditional religious leader, irregardless of age.

Sadly, honouring the older members happens less, and people are not taking time for listening to them speak wisdom. I recently reflected on the value of honouring as we walked alongside our First Nations friend who retired from a leadership position in the community.

As our friend’s last days of work were completed, no one celebrated all the years of service given. Throughout the years much prayer by God’s people had gone up on behalf of this elder in this key position of influence. In our friend’s service, often others’ shame was covered for the greater demand of Scripture to love others and show mercy and compassion. Even so, I believe the reason our friend wasn’t honoured as deserved was because this elder was a believer who desired to put Christ first in all things.

Psalm 91:15 became our constant prayer for the elder: “When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.”

The Lord says that He will honour the one who honours Him (1 Sam. 2:30; Jn. 12:26). As we receive caution to not seek honour from others, but rather seek honour that comes from God only (Jn. 5:44), we still felt that something was missing.

So, as believers who had stood alongside praying for our friend, we felt compelled to take on the role of those who should have shown honour where it was due, and put plans into place.

Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Let us honour elders, especially those who faithfully honour the Lord.

Mark & Ruth Anna Dana are NCEM missionaries who have served in Quebec, and now make Jacksontown, New Brunswick, their ministry base. They serve on loan to FirstStory Ministries (an Ethnos Canada outreach).

(from Northern Lights issue #546)