My birth certificate has a name on it…..the name given to me by my parents to identify me to the world for all time. There is no title on there, reverend, doctor, pastor, mister…..just a name. I have some papers that state that I was ordained as a pastor and that I earned a doctor of ministry degree, but these all list my name and declare what I accomplished. My name remains the same.
I have never used a title to identify myself, but I have been in situations where some have used titles because they think that is a sign of respect. In the church we are all called to respect and esteem one another. There is no need for a title to show respect for someone who is a leader in His Body! Jesus actually spoke against using titles. He never used one Himself and neither did the apostles. People should respect us for who we are, not what we make them call us. So where does this practice come from? Religious traditions of men which weaken the power of God’s truth and lay burdens upon people God never intended.
If you read all of Matthew 23 it will give you insight on how Jesus feels about the religious garbage we put on people, with all our extra rules and practices. But right now, just check out this truth about titles.
Matthew 23:8-12 (NKJV) But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. (9) Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (10) And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. (11) But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (12) And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
In the church all the glory and exaltation belongs to Jesus alone. Never to a man or woman. Calling someone by a title exalts them and lifts them in before others as being somehow superior than everyone else. We are all equal in Christ, but some of us do have different responsibilities than others. However, that responsibility is not a title, it’s just a job, a function of our service to Him.
I wonder what new breakthroughs we would experience if we did things God’s way instead of man’s way?? Exalting ourselves above the people is always wrong. Leaders are all called to take the low place, like Christ. We are servants, not big shots.
So please, call me by my name. That’s who I am. The other stuff is just what I do.
Help us walk in your truth, Lord!