|"Please pay the rooster |
if no one is here. Thanks"
I regularly drive past several family-run road-side fruit and vegetable; we're just at the end of another bountiful season of plenty.
A staple at these stands is the honour-system payment box. It may be a wooden box, or a plastic container (usually used to store leftovers), and in one case: a rooster-shaped mailbox.
These boxes are a means of continuing the exchange of money for goods, without the necessity of constant staffing, especially in the shoulder seasons. More than economic convenience, they are indicators of a relationship.
Sure, people could choose to help themselves to the product and depart without paying, but the majority of people will honour the system: by paying for their goods, even when no one is looking, it indicates integrity and respect. This action denotes an appreciation for the people who have put time and effort into the production of the goods, respecting them as individuals who are part of the local community.
The Honour System is a beautiful thing. And it's not just the right thing to do, it's a faithful thing to do. To honour someone is to recognise the God-given dignity they inherently carry; to dishonour someone is to fail to see the presence of Christ in that person.
Throughout the scriptures, God's people are reminded that respect is part of our faith. Whether honour is through appreciation by food or gift, position or authority, respect for one's body and reputation, commitment of life-long care: honour is a big deal to God. The honour system is biblical, and extends well beyond 'feeding the rooster' with currency.
As Christians, honour is something we choose to do: with those are immediately in front of us, and with those we do not see. Because we are all linked in the communion of saints, we are all commanded to love and honour each other. We honour our ancestors, our spouses, our friends and community, our ecosystems that sustain us. God has given us opportunity to practice honour every day, and I expect delights when our hearts (and hands!) respond accordingly.
Whatever your own system of life and connection to the world around you, I pray you are intentional about honouring all of God's world.