Have you ever thrown a rock into a pond? Circles spread out from where the rock hit. When you choose honor, you will create something similar to those waves. Your honor will influence those around you, and they in turn will learn to honor and influence others.
Honor is not linear. It does not simply flow from one person to the next and then down the line. Honor tends to flow in a circular pattern, much like love. Both love and honor are endlessly available, powerful and transformative.
Honor is central to everything we do at our church. We have worked intentionally to create a culture of honor, and it has been a blessing through the years to watch our young leaders form circles of honor in their lives as they embrace the importance of honor. One young leader was considered a role model for many of our younger attendees. His humility and the honor he showed everyone he interacted with at the church quickly came to my attention. His story shows how creating a culture of honor can open a person to blessings beyond what they could have imagined.
I first came to know Cameron Cooper when he started attending our young adult Rendezvous meetings on Tuesday nights. He was only 14, but Cameron’s size and confidence made him seem more like a young adult than a teenager. He was naturally popular, and while attending Miami Norland Senior High School, he became a star football player. It was his dream to be in the NFL, but I didn’t know that he had a parallel dream to be an architect.
His parents are both from Jamaica and moved to Miami just before he was born. Of his four siblings, he’s the youngest, the only boy, and the only one born in the United States. At 14, he was invited to the Rendezvous by a friend and accepted Christ as his Savior. From that day on, he began to serve, and he quickly began developing circles of honor in his life. Cameron was on every team in the church. He couldn’t get enough. He would finish football practice, shower and then get to church. It seemed to me that Cameron thought it an honor to work for Jesus. I never saw him complain, and he always had a smile on his face. The other leaders honored him because he honored them freely, and the younger groups followed his example and watched his actions closely. His honoring of others created circles of honor around him.
In his senior year of high school, he began receiving scholarship offers from different colleges, but nothing caught his attention. What no one knew was that he was feeling a pull to architecture. During this time, he attended a citywide event put on by my son Rich Jr.’s Vous Church. At that meeting, he met a gentleman who asked Cameron what he wanted to do after high school.
Cameron said, “Well, I was going to play football, but I feel more inclined to go into architecture. But I missed the deadline to apply to Florida International University.”
The man said, “What? I’m the adviser for the architecture program at FIU!” Young adults travel from all over the globe to attend this prestigious university, and here was Cameron talking to the main adviser over the school of architecture. This wonderful gentleman walked Cameron through the admissions process, and today Cameron is in his third year of architecture study and is already, under the school’s authority, working on major projects.
Not long ago, Cameron texted me from Tokyo because he was participating in a summer-long architecture program in Japan with other FIU students. Cameron told me, “Pastor, I feel like God has honored me and blessed me. I kind of feel like I’ve been crowned with honor.” Of course he feels that way. Cameron is a man of honor and has consistently sought to honor the Lord with every move he makes. I’m so grateful for Cameron. He is a young man in my life who has been crowned with honor, largely because he chose to honor others and create circles of honor around himself.
This article is adapted from I Choose Honor: The Key to Relationships, Faith, and Life (Charisma House, 2019) by Rich Wilkerson Sr. Wilkerson is the founder of Peacemakers and the senior pastor of Trinity Church in Miami, Florida. He is also an evangelist and author. Since 1973, Wilkerson has ministered to youths and families through evangelism and local church ministry. His humorous style and power-packed speaking have been the keys to seeing thousands turn to Christ. More than 1.5 million students have attended his presentations on over 1600 public school campuses throughout the United States and Canada. The Wilkersons also serve as chancellors at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Wilkerson and his wife, Robyn, are ministering in the heart of Miami and continue to be committed to the local community through cutting-edge ministry outreaches. The Wilkersons have been married for over 40 years and have four sons, three daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.