The Psalmist, the writer of Ecclesiastes, Jesus, and the Apostles tell us about the dangers of vanity. There are many who just do not seem to get how deep the sin of vanity goes nor how harmful it actually is. Vanity is not just looks, a problem of popularity, or an emotional response. The church is not immune to this as we see many leaders who have become vain which has led to greed and other detrimental activities within the community of believers called the Body of Christ.
A Pastor’s Vanity
Who in their right mind names a ministry after themselves???? Are they the ones being worshiped? The big name ministries that have a person’s name before the word ministry or church are vain individuals who obviously forget who they are to worship. This is especially bad for television ministries. Now don’t get me wrong, crusades are different because it is evident that they are not the ones being crusaded for or revived (ex. The Billy Graham Crusade for Christ). I am talking about people who have those exceedingly large churches who vainly and intentionally attach their name to the forefront of the religious service. The prosperity gospel teachers are the worst for doing that because it tells you who the majority of the raised funds are going to and it is not the mission of the church. We go to hear the Word not worship the person preaching it.
The ministry and all things that come into it and go out from it are for God’s glory alone. That is why you do not see a human face on our logo nor in any part of the main pictures. That is also why our name is as it is because the ministry is not ours but the direction and guidance needed to live a right life through Christ. No human name should be directly connected in a ministry name, which is disrespectful to God.
What’s in a Name
Jesus also tells us not to have titles. Matthew 23:8-12 states, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” The normal titles we see are pastor, bishop, apostle, reverend and we technically should not even use those especially apostle. The afore mentioned titles are tame compared to some I have seen like, most holy reverend, right reverend, doctor emeritus pastor, most high something or other, and the list gets crazier. The individuals who require to be called these outlandish and selfish titles are not sinless nor are they higher than anyone else. I know this sounds like I am disgruntled but I am not, just making a point.
Instead we should call each other some of the following to avoid the titles and focus on relationships: “brother,” “beloved,” “fellow-worker,” “laborer,” “slave,” “servant,” “prisoner,” “fellow-soldier,” and “steward.” Yes there were prophets, teachers, apostles, evangelists, leaders, elders, and deacons within the first churches, but these were not used as formal titles for individuals in the early church because they knew better. These common and functional terms speak volumes when we talk of each other.
It is better to call each other brother and or sister than anything else. If some do great things for the faith then use their first name and a descriptive word that emphasizes their deeds without showering them with accolades. Keeping things real and humble is much better than calling someone holy or most right when they are sinners just like everyone else. There is none more righteous or perfect than Jesus and He stayed humble to the end of the flesh.
Respect of Person Not Position
Persons in authority are to be respected but there are times when the title is the only reason some receive that respect. That is wrong. Now, Jesus does tell us to respect authority but He also warns us against abuses of that authority. If a person in authority does not show humility and respect why should it be given. Is that someone you would even follow? Our lives are all about relating to others. How we relate dictates emotional responses which controls our actions towards one another. Without personal respect there is no respect for the authority a person may hold.
Time For Change
The culture in America has many losing respect for authority and not from the actions of the person in authority. Rather, it is discovered that simple moral and ethical behaviors are ignored in the home. This must change. Parents who are more like friends to the young children or let them exhibit bad behaviors without consequence are actually ruining the children’s lives. Respect starts in the home with the instruction of good and godly manners (Proverbs 22:6). Are we so given into our sins by God that we cannot remember how that is taught? Have we become so vain that we give ourselves over to sin without a second thought? God has allowed us to be given into sin, and only God can save us from ourselves through Jesus. It is time to put the world away and get back to basics.
Brothers and Sisters we need to pray fervently that the world sees its mistakes and work on correction now. We have fallen short of our mission of the Great Commission. Get out there and be the disciples we are meant to be. Peace and Blessings to all.