By Allen White
But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, 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 instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:8-12
The best preaching is plagiarism. What we say and what we do should be lifted directly from the pages of Scripture. While creativity in expressing ourselves is a God-given gift, what we say and how we live our lives should be a reflection of God’s Truth.
Now, this passage should be read in the context of the wishes of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, or else things could get weird in a hurry. What if my kids stopped calling me “Dad” because of Jesus’ words here and began to call me “Allen”? That’s not where Jesus is going with this.
The titles of master, teacher and rabbi were high honors for these religious leaders. They prided themselves in their position. They needed an ego boost to keep their insecurities at bay.
By referring to God Himself as our Master, Teacher and Rabbi, Jesus cuts out the middle man. Our goal in life shouldn’t be to seek honor for ourselves or give honor to insecure people to merely prop up their egos. All we need is The Master and The Teacher.
Now God has called all of His people to ministry in various roles (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4). While most believers have a day job, a few are blessed with full-time church work. But, the Kingdom of God isn’t built on a pyramid or an org chart.
The greatest in God’s Kingdom on earth is Jesus. Yet, the Greatest became the least by offering Himself as a sacrifice for all of our sins. Beneath the derelict on skid row, one level down from the prostitute, underneath the oppressors and slave holders in this world went Jesus to save them, and us, from all of our sins.
The nature of the church is to serve each other. Rewards will come later in Heaven. Honors will be given on the other side. But, on this side, our role is to serve.
At this point in your life, what task do you feel is beneath you? What do you feel that you deserve? How are these thoughts and feelings getting in the way of God using you? God elevates the humble and demotes the proud. You have to go down to go up.
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