Why Do People Generally Prefer Honor And Prestige Over Servanthood?

by | Mar 2, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

We live in a world where we value leaders in power. That’s because people in positions of power often receive greater rewards and recognition in the form of promotions, respect, and public acknowledgment. What we fail to realize is that success and true leadership are rooted in serving others. But why do people generally prefer honor and prestige over servanthood?

In the society we live in today, it’s easy to prioritize honor and glory over servanthood. That’s because honor, which determines one’s status and worth in society, depends on the code of conduct established in society. Those who abide by the set code of conduct are often bestowed with honor and glory, which leads to success, wealth, power, and additional privileges.

Reasons People Prefer Honor and Prestige Over Servanthood

To Get Respect

People typically value honor and prestige over servanthood because it helps them gain respect, power, and a sense of control over their lives. Achieving honor and prestige can also lead to higher social status and recognition within society.

As a Form Of Validation

This is another reason why people seek honor and prestige rather than servanthood. Have you ever visited a famous person and the first thing they show you are their numerous trophies, awards, or accolades?

Nowadays, people even go as far as displaying photographs they have taken with “important” or famous people, be it presidents, billionaires, or athletes, because it points to who they know in society (which symbolizes their power) or what they have achieved.

For most people, achieving high status or receiving accolades serves as a validation of their self-worth. That’s because, in society, accolades and recognition serve as symbols of success and point to what a person has accomplished so far. So, the more awards you have, the more accomplishments you seem to have, and that comes with more honor and prestige.

Rarely is servanthood recognized because it’s not glamorous work that can easily capture attention. Servanthood can also be seen as a sign of weakness and lack of power. Since we live in a society that values individual success above all else, acts of servanthood are either undervalued or overlooked.

To Attain the Pinnacle Of Power And Influence

The standard leadership model that society follows is designed in such a way that there is a specific person who is in authority. The leader has the most power, honor, and prestige. Then, below the centralized authority are subordinates who serve the lead and are expected to be humble and acknowledge the authority of the leader.

By looking at this model, rarely would someone want to be the subordinate and follow the servanthood principle. Instead, most people would emulate the leader as the position is a symbol of power, success, prestige, and honor.

Honor Is Closely Tied To Success

Most of us have heard or said the popular quote “failure is not an option” by NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger reiterated the same message: “Failure is not an option. Everyone has to succeed.” These quotes often apply in our lives because those deemed successful have honor and privilege. Such people are always seen to be on the winning team, so we want to emulate them.

We want to be the best in everything because that’s how success is measured. The good news is that God doesn’t measure success or honor based on what has been bestowed by our fellow men or our positions of influence and authority. Instead, he commands us to honor and be of service to everyone. (1 Peter 2:17; 4:10). True honor is found in our willingness to serve others, which is a hallmark of true Christianity.

Jesus the Suffering Servant

In most cases, honor and privilege were often given to those from wealthy, popular, or royal families. It’s by extension of your parents’ or grandparents’ honor that you also share or inherit privileges such as wealth, social status, and access to opportunities.

Jesus was the opposite of this kind of honor. He was born out of wedlock to not-so-popular or wealthy parents. In fact, his adopted father was a simple carpenter named Joseph (John 1:46). Even though he was the Son of God, Jesus had no external majesty or beauty that made Him desirable (Isaiah 53:2).

His people rejected him, and even his brothers did not believe him (John 1:11; 7:5). And Christ died most shamefully: as a convicted criminal by way of crucifixion (John 19). It was after his resurrection that Jesus was crowned in honor and glory (Hebrew 2:9). 

Jesus was sinless and perfect in every way. Yet, he was immensely humiliated, tortured, and endured disgrace because of our sins. He came as a Suffering Servant willing to be sacrificed to redeem mankind. Despite being the Messiah worthy of honor and privilege, he lived as a Suffering Servant, and not once did he offer resistance.

Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Christ submitted to God’s plan to save mankind. He accepted to be the Suffering Servant to bring atonement and ensure that through him, man could enter the kingdom of God. As a result, our Savior fulfilled God’s plan in ways that no nation or man could ever do. After paying humanity’s debt of sin, Christ is now seated at His Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3).

The Bible says:

“He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

Jesus came as a Suffering Servant and now reigns as our eternal King. So, Christ’s honor is derived from his humble obedience and sacrificial love rather than from power or prestige bestowed by man. As the Son of God, Jesus was assigned the unique privilege of atoning for our sins. However, He didn’t do it to attain personal gain or status, but for our sake so that we could have salvation and eternal life.

Servanthood Leads to Honor

Worldly success can be a means to do good or evil (Mark 4:19). However, living according to God’s word and teaching, as well as serving others, will result in worldly success. A good example of this is the orphaned Jewish girl Esther, who became the queen of Persia. As a queen, she had honor and prestige but she was also focused on serving others. Joseph, who was sold into slavery in Egypt even in his suffering, remained an obedient servant of God, and he ended up serving in a position of honor, power, and authority.

Joseph and Esther demonstrate that godly servant leaders should faithfully serve others and trust YHWH, not in people. And because these godly leaders were living righteously and had integrity, they were able to stand out and become more successful. Both Esther and Joseph exemplified what it means to be a Servant leader.

In the Bible, servanthood is portrayed as humility and focuses less on “I” and more on “we.” It’s the opposite of being self-centered and more about putting others first. Jesus exemplified the meaning of servanthood as He didn’t come to be served, but to serve others (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Are Christians Dishonoring God when they seek honor and prestige?

God doesn’t have a problem when a believer seeks honor as long as it’s from God and not men. Jesus condemned the Pharisees when He said: “they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (John 12:43).


Christ set the ultimate example of servanthood when He accepted to be sacrificed for sin that was not His own and died a death He did not deserve. But because of his suffering, Jesus reconciled sinners to God. So, while we search for glory and privilege that only men can give, we should remember what true servanthood looks like – Christ taking our place on the cross.

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About: Ronie

Ronnie Amaya has been actively involved in ministry since his high school and university days where he served as a Christian union leader. After graduation, he worked as an itinerary minister preaching in Schools, Universities, Street Evangelizations, and Churches. In 2018, he led a team in planting a new church in Nairobi, Kenya where he is currently serving as the lead pastor.
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Ronnie Amaya has been actively involved in ministry since his high school and university days where he served as a Christian union leader. After graduation, he worked as an itinerary minister preaching in Schools, Universities, Street Evangelizations, and Churches. In 2018, he led a team in planting a new church in Nairobi, Kenya where he is currently serving as the lead pastor.

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