Away with all Human Honor

by Eberhard Arnold

Note: Originally spoken at the Rhon Bruderhof during Advent 1934; printed in When the Time Was Fulfilled (Plough 1965).

Men dishonor God most deeply when they give honor to men and receive honor from them. We should give human beings love, not honor. All honor belongs to God alone in Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

Honoring Christ means that He is different from us, that we are not worthy to tie or untie His shoestrings or to clean His shoes or do Him any other service. We must honor Him by recognizing that we are not worthy to be in His Church; that nobody is worthy to work for Him, to live for Him, to do anything for Him. We must honor Christ alone, by recognizing that He alone is truly equipped by God, truly endowed by God.

He alone is the Ruler, the King, the Exalted! No one else can and shall be honored but He alone. He has been exalted because He took upon himself the final humiliation, such as none of us can take upon himself; for there is nobody who can reach to such a depth from such a height as Jesus did. He showed us that He has God's interest, that He is the heart of God, by the very fact that He went the whole way from the greatest height to the lowest humiliation.

Jesus showed God's nature, God's loving heart; for this is God's way, not man's; and we may ask Him to take us into His Church so that we may go the same way. He wants fully to accept us and our service, though we are not worthy of it and cannot be honored for it. Jesus says that when we have done everything, we have not done more than we ought to do.

So away with all human honor; then we will have room and space to honor Him whom we love. We honor Him in the expectation, the recognition, the knowledge that He is coming, He who is Ruler and King. We honor Him in the recognition that no power is so great, no dominion so secure as His. He will topple the lofty from their thrones and raise up the lowly. That will be His work when He comes.

Let us then honor Him by taking up the same attitude to life that He took. Take the side of the lowly; never take sides with the exalted; then you will be able to honor Christ. Then you will expect Him to come, so that the exalted may be brought down and the lowly raised up in the coming of the King. No longer shall lazy people be considered distinguished or the humble be despised. Complete love and complete justice, the justice of mercy, shall be revealed in the second coming of Christ, for which we wait.