Our society seems to have lost the sense of reverence—reverence for the person who is our boss at work, our employee, our supplier, or our customer—but especially, reverence for God.
We can define reverence as the manifestation of that attitude of deep respect for someone or something that is coupled with awe or veneration or praise.
We can debate how or why this has happened, but today I would like to contemplate what we might do about it.
Psalm 104:1 reminds us that God is great and clothed in majesty and splendor. We know from other scriptures that God is the creator of the universe. Our ability to transcend our feelings into a relationship with this great and majestic God can only bring us into a state of reverence and awe.
Psalm 24:3 asks: “Who may go up to the mountain of the Lord? Who can stand in this holy place?” These questions remind us that even in our acts of praying we should accompany them with our own humility, repentance, gratitude, and praise.
God is holy. He is the Lord of all.
He rightfully deserves our reverence at all times and in all things.
But to reverence God in all things means to show this same respectful attitude towards his entire creation—including towards other people. It is a reflection of our love for God and all that belongs to him.
Ponder this: The same God that naturally commands our reverence also created every single human being in his image—in his likeness.
Here’s how Isaiah puts it: “Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. You are precious in my sight and honored and I love you” (Isaiah 43:1,4). We are also reminded in Psalm 139:11 that God knits us in our mother’s womb. This God loves us so much that he carefully and individually creates us himself.
When we develop our own personal relationship with God, and we discover that he cherishes all of us, loves all of us, and forgives all of us, we cannot reverence him without reverencing each other—and that includes reverencing those we do business with. For indeed, we are his children.
Once we begin to understand this, showing reverence to him and to others becomes our response to his greatness and to his loving presence in our lives and in other people as well.
It would be impossible to reverence God and at the same time, not revere and respect every other element of his creation. “If anyone one says: ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20). Why? Because his brother is one of God’s special, precious, and honored children.
We cannot revere the father and disrespect his children.
A few steps we could take to bring reverence back into its proper place in our work and in our world might be:
- Recall that God is love. Then, vividly imagine God’s DNA and genetics running through the very fiber of everyone you encounter. Be sure to include your co-workers, anyone who works for you, your boss, and your customers.
- For those who do not like you, picture them sitting around the table of God as his children whom he loves and cherishes. Imagine how many times he has forgiven them and then you do the same.
- Finally, envision God for who he is: our creator, our protector, our provider, our forgiver, our lover, and our source of all that is good. Then, only approach him with the reverence he so richly deserves.
We can all shake our heads and mourn the demise of respect in our culture. Or we can bring it back. How? As each of us plant the seeds of reverence for God and all of his creation, those seeds will grow into a wellspring of honor, respect, admiration, and esteem for the earth and everything in it.
Reverence is nothing more than the reflection of the love in our hearts.
Let’s make that reflection something the whole world will revere.
About Mike Van Vranken
Mike Van Vranken, a lifelong Catholic, is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and teacher. Following forty years of leading, coaching, and developing business owners, Mike founded Mike Van Vranken Ministries to fulfill his passion to bring Jesus to the world around him. He brings his experiences as a mentor, leader, speaker, coach, and entrepreneur to provide teaching and spiritual leadership to all who are interested. His dream is to deliver the teachings of Jesus to women and men, old and young, poor and rich, people of every background and diversity – to the entire body of Christ.
Mike is co-author of the brand new book: Faith Positive in a Negative World. In paperback and on Kindle now at amazon.com. He and Barbara, his wife of 42 years, live in Shreveport, LA. Discover more about Mike at www.mikevanvrankenministries.org as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google.