“They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ 8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Titles. We give them to people, whether it is through labels in our own mind or our culture’s identifying someone’s position. While no one wants to be labeled derogatively, we can waste so many hours striving for a title or position, only to realize that this achievement is ultimately hay, wood and stubble. Our serving is nothing if it is done for our own glory, but when it is done for His glory and for the edification of the believers, it is lasting and precious.
In our society, servants are not esteemed. They are considered to be the lowest, and yet that is what Christ says we should seek. Don’t get me wrong – it is not more righteous to be a blue collar worker. God has people in positions of high and low standing – but all are to be positions of service.
Now I know this will possibly step on some toes, but the titles we give within our church walls might often be more of a hindrance than a help in the Kingdom of God. People lost might feel they could never measure up to someone with such an important title. But a leader who washes the feet of his sheep and serves them – that is the mightiest position of all.
What a beautiful picture it would be if not a single believer viewed themselves as greater than another. What if we all saw that we were the same in God’s eyes, each one of us just a servant in the house of God, seeking to minister to the world and to each other? Wow. No longer comparing our perceived position of righteousness, but instead in humility seeing others as more important than ourselves.
For eleven years I have had the privilege of serving women in an educational co-op and for twenty-four years I have served churches through worship ministry. In the beginning years, I poured myself out so much it was often overwhelming. When tragedy struck my household, I continued to serve, but realize that the focus had turned to myself in my pain. I could not continue on the same level of serving and it hurt. Sometimes we need others to carry us and serve us, and God knows we need those seasons. Changing our focus to others again can be difficult when we have been traumatized, but the greatest joy and recovery comes again through serving others.
Last night I had the joy of sharing songs and personal testimony with some precious women of God. Getting started all over again in music ministry is both humbling and thrilling. My greatest hope is that these women will know that I was the blessed one to be able to serve with the grace that God has given to me.
Lord, thank you for modeling what it means to be Your servants. Help us to never seek a title, but instead Your glory alone.