IT IS common these days to hear one man of God referring to another as being great. How can a servant genuinely determine the greatness of another? In fact, a great man of God is not who people say he is but who Christ Jesus says he is. This means a servant is unfit to describe his brother as great or small. Only Christ qualifies to give such a description. And those who are great are humble like little children (Matthew 18:1-4).
The lifestyle of a number of pastors or priests today has been greatly influenced by dogmas than the Bible. Many are interested in traditions of men which make them appear great, important and recognized in the sight of men. If God had wanted His servants to be ordained and called “Reverend”, it would have been mentioned in Scripture. And the biblical priests, prophets and apostles would have used it.
Truth is God never commanded any of His servants to be ordained or called “Reverend”. One minister erroneously used it in Europe in the 17th Century or so and it spread around the world among some denominations and ministers of the gospel. One may describe its spread as blind imitation.
Today, another title, “God’s General”, has emerged and some pastors are using it. It will not be long some pastors will be ordained like “General Richardson Smith” or “General Okofo Louis Larry”. Well, who is God’s General? Who determines ministers who qualify as God’s Generals? Is God’s General being used by the will of God?
We know that Christians are soldiers of Christ. And so if there are God’s Generals, then, of course, there must be God’s Corporals, God’s Captains, God’s Majors, God’s Lieutenants and God’s Brigadier Generals and other such ranks in the church. But these have place in the Kingdom of God. It is better to be content with the ministry offices and titles – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – God has given to the church in Scripture (Ephesians 4:11).
Moreover, Jesus Christ never asked His servants to wear priestly garments as a way of making them recognizable and known, so the 1st Century ministers never wore them. But most modern ministers wear some sort of priestly garments; who asked them to wear them? One sin by which many church leaders may fall on the judgement day is pride; it is subtle.
On that day, a bishop’s expectation of having done mighty works to receive eternal salvation and great rewards will disappoint him. On that day, it will be realized the futility of man’s supposed great works without taking a careful precaution to do the will of God. In fact, what man considers great works may be deemed as works of lawlessness in the sight of Christ Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23).
Undoubtedly, chains, rings, staffs, big chairs and liturgical vestments do not make any Christian minister greater or righteous in the sight of God. Again, if they do, the 1st Century apostles would have used them and also written about them. Paul, in particular, would have written and given instruction about them in his epistles to the church just as Moses wrote and gave instructions about priestly garments for Aaron, his sons and all other high priests after him under the Old Covenant (Exodus 28).
God is looking for humble people who will minister as servant-leaders in His vineyard. Paul was a humble 1st Century minister. He called himself as an apostle, the least of the apostles unworthy to be called an apostle. A minister who Christ calls greatest is the one who is humble. Humility is not weakness but strength.
Christ Jesus was humble and meek and urges His followers, especially ministers, to learn from His humility. Humility is not necessarily being silent or appearing shabby. It is not being timid or fearful. It is not refusing to rebuke sin, correct errors or discipline disobedience. Jesus Christ and Moses stand out as unique humble persons who walked the earth yet they both punished sin in their ministries.
However, humility is not thinking you are better than others. It is emptying yourself – casting down your crowns, degrees, status, money, beauty, position and titles to serve. Humility is taking a low position for Christ to take a high position in His church. Humility is making Christ Jesus increase while you decrease. It is submission to God.
Humility is sacrificing your will for the will of God. Humility is seeking the interest of Christ over the interests of men. Humility is the willingness to accept corrections in love regardless of your achievements. Humility is admitting errors or mistakes committed and being appreciative of open rebukes. Humility is dying to self and living for Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ described John the Baptist, a prophet who wore no special clothing and used honourific titles, as being greater among those born of women. Yet the Lord explained that the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John (Matthew 11:11). This is because the least in the Kingdom of heaven is humbler than John. Indeed, the humble servant of Christ is great in the sight of God.
By James Quansah