Service Is Honor

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Recently I was dining in a restaurant with my wife, Nancy, and after receiving exceptional service, Nancy remarked to the waiter, Tony, how pleased we were with the service. Almost on cue, Tony leaned in towards Nancy and said, “The pleasure is mine, you see Service is Honor.

Wow, it is no wonder he was good at his job, he had a passion to serve and it showed.

These words, “Service is Honor,” echoed in my mind for weeks.

What does Honor really mean?

Passion for Service


I worry that “honor” might be overused and lost some of its meaning. Politicians are sometimes referred to as “honorable” but are continually ranked at the top of the most dishonest professions.
Honor Guard marching in front of monument on an overcast day
When I think of honor I think of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the “Guards of Honor,” who through selfless sacrifice demonstrate a commitment to a higher ideal.

In order to earn the right to “walk” each honor guard memorizes verbatim 7 pages of history about the Arlington National Cemetery, so those who have made the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.

The next time you visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch in silent reverence the precision of the Honor Guard’s 21 steps at a cadence of 90 steps per minute you cannot help but get a sense of what is honor.

The Honor Guards, though their selfless sacrifice to something larger than self, gives us insight into what Honor truly means.


So did our waiter, Tony, in a pointed moment, fall victim to the overuse of “Honor,” when he declared, “Service is Honor.

Here are some observations of what happens when we choose to serve.

  • By serving others we elevate people and relationships.
  • Service builds community by promoting values that transcend self-interest.
  • When we serve we honor God by stewarding the God given gifts He entrusted to us.
  • Service engenders personal trust.
  • Service inspires, unleashing our true character.
  • Service influences others and creates capacity for good.
  • Service empowers others to persevere.
  • Service demonstrates integrity when we practice what we preach.
  • When we are a servant we share the same mindset as Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).

When we serve we transcend self-interest, show an intrinsic drive to serve a calling larger than ourselves, and earn the right to be heard.
I think our friendly waiter, Tony, was on to something, “Service is Honor.”

If you aspire to be a genuine leader, engender trust, be a person of integrity, build community, inspire others, create capacity for good, and be known for having the same mindset of Christ Jesusbe a servant. You and those you touch will be richly blessed.

Service and Honor at Sunset

After volunteering in one of the dining rooms, serving food and busing tables, Steve Zuiderveen, Sunset’s CEO, sat down with the other servers to enjoy lunch, when a resident stopped by their table. “I want you to know,” she told all the servers, “I truly love it at Sunset. I am so honored to receive such great service from everyone. Thank you.”

Feeling moved and a little embarrassed each server responded in their own words, “no problem,” “it was our pleasure,” and “we were glad to do it.” Each one of the servers offering testimony in their own words and actions that, “SERVICE IS HONOR.”

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