The Most Ignored Words of Jesus

“Have you talked to Pastor?”

Everytime I hear ‘Pastor” used as someone’s first name, I cringe inside.  My yuck meter goes off because using titles for each other is one of the things Jesus asked us not to do.  Why do we continue to violate it every day?  

I got this quesiton in my inbox the other day:  

Matthew 23:8-112 reads, “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.”

My Question is how does this apply to today?  And does using titles so as to not offend make sense in Scripture?

How do I apply this today? I don’t use such titles for myself and I don’t use them for others either. If someone is going to be offended if I don’t call them “Pastor” or “Reverend,” I don’t spend a lot of time with such people.  Their love of titles is a demonstration that they don’t have the heart of Jesus.  I’m not saying they are not saved, simply that they are not living very deeply in his reality.

People say they do it only to show honor, but isn’t that exactly what Jesus is talking about? Titles separate us from each other, putting some in a special class.  Jesus wanted us to understand and appreciate that God alone stands above, and all his people stand alongside each other.  Pastor, elder, apostle, may describe a function God has given us in the body; it is not and never can be our identity. Once it is, everything gets twisted.  

Share this Post!

Related post

8 Comments
  1. Tom July 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. I get it when someone is referred to as “pastor so and so” in a situation where his responsibilities (usually confused with authourity) need to be highlighted.

    However, especially when the individual makes it known that he wants to be callled pastor (as respect and ackowledgement of his position), I cringe. In fact, to me it indicates a weakness in this person. Most importantly it is evidence of a likely deficiency in the area of understanding servanthood. Also humility (being in sync with reality) comes into question. 

    In gerneral, I personally prefer the disposition of faclitator in the knowing OF God rather than leader

  2. Tom July 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. I get it when someone is referred to as “pastor so and so” in a situation where his responsibilities (usually confused with authourity) need to be highlighted.

    However, especially when the individual makes it known that he wants to be callled pastor (as respect and ackowledgement of his position), I cringe. In fact, to me it indicates a weakness in this person. Most importantly it is evidence of a likely deficiency in the area of understanding servanthood. Also humility (being in sync with reality) comes into question. 

    In gerneral, I personally prefer the disposition of faclitator in the knowing OF God rather than leader

  3. timothy August 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    What you’ve said is what I’ve been thinking for many years. The thing that especially gets me is when Christians badmouth Catholics for calling their leaders ‘Father’ and in the same breath make sure to exalt their own hallowed superiors with “Pastor” this and “Pastor” that (be sure to capitalize the sacred title!). Why don’t they see they’re doing exactly the same thing, creating an elite class of top-tier Christians and flagrantly denying the wonderful reality of the body of Christ where we’re all members and Christ alone is the Head?

  4. timothy August 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    What you’ve said is what I’ve been thinking for many years. The thing that especially gets me is when Christians badmouth Catholics for calling their leaders ‘Father’ and in the same breath make sure to exalt their own hallowed superiors with “Pastor” this and “Pastor” that (be sure to capitalize the sacred title!). Why don’t they see they’re doing exactly the same thing, creating an elite class of top-tier Christians and flagrantly denying the wonderful reality of the body of Christ where we’re all members and Christ alone is the Head?

  5. Ana Figueira August 4, 2015 at 8:57 am

    What I like is (sometimes) calling people brother and sister – my “familiy” is disfunctional at least and I love this reminder that it’s not the only family I got, that there are brothers and sisters who actually love me, treat me kindly, do not expoit my weaknesses but rather protect me in these areas… I forgot where exactly it is but somewhere in the Gospel Jesus does the same thing, pointing out that his “family” is not defined in human terms but believers are brothers and sisters and mother to him – of course Father is is heaven, but we can be family to one another – and in these days of divorce and patchwork families and whatever I guess truly living as Father’s family is one of the most effective ways to invite others to faith – not by creating organisations or structures or hierarchies (which comes naturally to people, I guess)

     

    What often amazed be (having been “Pastor” myself) is that some people actually enjoy pointing out that they are “pedestrians” happy to follow “leaders on horses”… apart from the military imagery I never got it – why not enjoy being a royal priest instead of “worshipping” the priestly and royal elite? If I remember it correctly, it’s language Peter uses in one of his letters, quoting from the Old Testament where only “a special few” were either royal or priest (and of course only men…) and the new covenant makes us all priests with direct access to Father, all royals, part of the King’s family…

     

    Right now I am in a foreign country reigned by a prince with amazing political power – being Swiss I truly appreciate the fact that there is no nobility in my country and at the same time it is fascinating, I have to admit, this thought of some being “more special” by birth – and in their own understanding by God’s choice for the good of all…

  6. Ana Figueira August 4, 2015 at 11:57 am

    What I like is (sometimes) calling people brother and sister – my “familiy” is disfunctional at least and I love this reminder that it’s not the only family I got, that there are brothers and sisters who actually love me, treat me kindly, do not expoit my weaknesses but rather protect me in these areas… I forgot where exactly it is but somewhere in the Gospel Jesus does the same thing, pointing out that his “family” is not defined in human terms but believers are brothers and sisters and mother to him – of course Father is is heaven, but we can be family to one another – and in these days of divorce and patchwork families and whatever I guess truly living as Father’s family is one of the most effective ways to invite others to faith – not by creating organisations or structures or hierarchies (which comes naturally to people, I guess)

     

    What often amazed be (having been “Pastor” myself) is that some people actually enjoy pointing out that they are “pedestrians” happy to follow “leaders on horses”… apart from the military imagery I never got it – why not enjoy being a royal priest instead of “worshipping” the priestly and royal elite? If I remember it correctly, it’s language Peter uses in one of his letters, quoting from the Old Testament where only “a special few” were either royal or priest (and of course only men…) and the new covenant makes us all priests with direct access to Father, all royals, part of the King’s family…

     

    Right now I am in a foreign country reigned by a prince with amazing political power – being Swiss I truly appreciate the fact that there is no nobility in my country and at the same time it is fascinating, I have to admit, this thought of some being “more special” by birth – and in their own understanding by God’s choice for the good of all…

  7. Steve Alger August 5, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

    It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R

    I have lived in my small town for 62 years. This past Monday a man was killed by police after robbing a gun shop 4 blocks from my home. I read about tragic events like this all the time but never have they been located in my neighborhood. This morning’s devotional included the quote above. While Chambers doesn’t indicate the lead is being moulded into ammunition, in my current state of shock, I can’t picture anything but this. 

     

    It’s been almost 10 years on the run as a refugee from organized religion. My anger and disappointment have diminished with time, but I must remain on guard daily lest my thoughts become words and actions as deadly as the bullets flying through our neighborhoods. Praise be to God, the lover of my soul.

     

  8. Steve Alger August 5, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

    It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R

    I have lived in my small town for 62 years. This past Monday a man was killed by police after robbing a gun shop 4 blocks from my home. I read about tragic events like this all the time but never have they been located in my neighborhood. This morning’s devotional included the quote above. While Chambers doesn’t indicate the lead is being moulded into ammunition, in my current state of shock, I can’t picture anything but this. 

     

    It’s been almost 10 years on the run as a refugee from organized religion. My anger and disappointment have diminished with time, but I must remain on guard daily lest my thoughts become words and actions as deadly as the bullets flying through our neighborhoods. Praise be to God, the lover of my soul.

     

Comments are closed.