Titles. We all have them. Mother, father, pastor, sister, brother, minister, manager, supervisor, etc.; titles have become an important part of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not. They have defined us, inspired us, and even motivated us to change who we are because of being given a certain title. Although our society facilitates our thinking that titles make us who we are, we have to understand there is only one title that should govern our lives; the title of “servant”.
I have been in transition for the last few years. In my career I have progressed to titles of supervisor, manager, and senior manager. In my ministry I have been given titles of minister, leader, and pastor. When you become accustomed to those titles you get comfortable in those acknowledgements and the element of elevated status begins to kick in. Usually when you are promoted to certain titles in your career, your earning potential increases and increased wealth becomes a reality. You purchase items that you may not have normally purchased; you travel to places that were once foreign to you. Your experiences broaden and you are invited to circles of societies that were unknown. Your status has changed and there is an air of confidence that sometimes could turn into arrogance.
In the church you may have started off as a minister in training. You sat in the back of church just wanting to soak in the initial calling and trying to understand what it all means. As the months and/or years pass you get licensed and eventually ordained. You are no longer sitting in the back of the church but have progressed to either the front row, pulpit, or you are being escorted through the pomp and circumstance to the pulpit. You have arrived! If you are honest you have had this feeling and to had spiritually struggle with its implications. With the title of bishop, apostle, reverend, etc. you are invited to certain functions that request your presence because of you who are.
I am being taught that if I am not displaying a servant mentality in any title I hold it means nothing. Recently I have had this lesson look me right in my eyes in both my career and ministry. I have taken a new position with another company and my title at my prior company was senior manager. When I joined this new company I was given the title of manager. Although in my new role I received more responsibility and money, I was still bothered by the title of manager. In the church I have been accustomed to people addressing me as “minister”. But recently there have been more people calling me “sister” or just my name in the church. This was due to being introduced to different church environments and recently joining a new church. My flesh (the carnal nature of man) was offended. In that offense the Holy Spirit “checked” me and begin to correct my disposition. He explained that the only title I should care about is the title of servant. It does not matter that people call me minister, manager, etc. It should only matter what I do within the opportunities God has given me.
Servant leadership strips us from our titles and places proper perspective in our lives. Through this invaluable lesson, I no longer place a title in my email signature at work and do not feel like I have lost my purpose in ministry when people just call me “sister” and by my name. Let us all learn this lesson in our careers and ministries so it does not distract us from the true nature of why we exist. We exist to serve.
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