I was sitting in the terminal at DFW early Friday morning waiting to catch a flight to Alabama for a board meeting. Someone seated next to me stood and began to clap. I looked up and noticed that on the concourse above us there were soldiers walking out of the skyway. I stood and started clapping. An announcement came over the loud speaker saying, “Ladies & Gentleman please welcome our troops who are returning home from Afghanistan today.” Everyone in the terminal stood, applauded, and yelled. We stood for about fifteen minutes, everybody looking up, everybody applauding as hundreds of young men and women walked by. At times the applause and the yelling became deafening.
Tears began to well up in my eyes as I looked into their faces. I thought about how these brave men and women had given months or maybe years of their lives to protect our freedoms. I thought about how they had been away from their families and all of the comforts that we enjoy in this country.
I thought about fellow soldiers that they had lost in combat. I prayed, “Dear God, thank You for these wonderful men and women who have given so much for our country. Dear Father please bless the loved ones of those who didn’t come home. Father help us to never take for granted what we enjoy so much.”
Then I started thinking about others who need our applause. The Word of God teaches that we should give honor to those who deserve it (Romans 13:7).
We should applaud parents who are committing time raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents who spend time praying and studying with their children. Parents who take time making sure that their families worship regularly with God’s people and are involved in the life of the church.
We should applaud couples that are committed to one another. They should be commended for working through trials and difficulties to keep their families together.
We should applaud single parents who are courageously providing physically and spiritually for their families. These wonderful parents who are doing the work of two parents.
We should applaud teenagers who are willing to stand out among their peers and say no to worldliness. These wonderful young people who refuse to follow the crowd.
We should applaud college students across our land that are sometimes far from home, yet they continue to display Christian values that they learned from their parents.
We should applaud young couples who refuse to bow to the God of this age. Who say we will not be swayed by popular culture to walk away from what we have been taught and who will not divide families for the sake of friendship.
We should applaud churches that remain committed to the truths of God’s Word. We should applaud Elders who will not be influenced by money or threats of members to change the way they lead God’s people. We should applaud these elders when they refuse to change just for the sake of growth. We should applaud elders when they shepherd the flock and when they focus on what is most important.
We should applaud deacons who are willing to serve so that elders may shepherd the church. We should applaud these men for having servant hearts like Jesus.
We should applaud preachers when they proclaim the “whole counsel of God.” We should applaud them when they speak sound doctrine even when it is unpopular. We should applaud them when they take time to study so that members of churches receive the proper nourishment.
We should applaud Sunday school teachers who spend hours preparing Bible lessons for our children. We should applaud them when they give up time to help our children learn the Word of God.
We should applaud those who have become the eyes, hands, and feet of Jesus to reach out to others who are less fortunate. We should applaud those who seek justice, righteousness, and mercy.
If we live in a way that is pleasing to God He will honor us in this life, but most importantly in the life to come. He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21) And that will be the greatest applause of all.
Dear God, may we be people who give honor to those who deserve it. Help us dear God not to praise ourselves but to seek to applaud others who do well. Help us Father, to love those around us more and to love you more every day. In Jesus Name, Amen.