As part of Paulâ€™s letter to Titus and in his admonitions concerning â€œthings that become sound doctrineâ€ he gave advice and godly instruction on how all Christians are to act and as to the character they should exhibit. In chapter two and verses seven and eight is this statement: â€œâ€¦in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.â€ (Titus 2: 7, 8)
Vacation has been nice this year. It must take family to leave south Florida in winter to go to Arkansas. It was 29 degrees this morning. But it has been enjoyable and I am able to wear clothing that I can never wear at home. I am still on vacation, but I wanted to post a point from my reading through the scriptures.
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12; NLT)
I suppose many of the religious groups and denominations have a different “interpretation” of this text. Many allow these titles like “Father,” “Reverend,” “Pastor,” etc to be placed upon themselves. Is not Jesus teaching that we are to be equal to one another? Especially when we consider verse 12 teaching us to keep our humility and not allow ourselves to be exalted. While we all serve in different capacities and have different gifts, even the greatest among us is to be considered a servant and nothing more. While elders and preachers carry a certain degree of respect and honor (1 Timothy 3 and 1 Timothy 5), this is not to lead us to call one another by titles. Visitors who come to our church often try to call me “Pastor” or “Preacher” when they address me. I have been called “Pastor,” “Pastor Brent” and even “Hey, Preacher!” I try to always correct them by saying, “Just call me, Brent.” We are all equal here. You can describe my work as ministry and preaching. But don’t call me “Pastor.” I am nothing except by the grace of God and I believe God has given me a gift and responsibility to teach and to serve. Let’s trash the titles and reserve them for Jesus.