Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:1-12
We went over this passage in one of my classes at Talbot this past week. What a challenge to examine my heart and see if I am serving God for the right reasons. I think most people have good intentions, but even church service can be done for self-glory. This world loves the places of honor, recognitions, and titles that reflect their tremendous accomplishments. We seek the MDs, JDs, PhDs, and even in ministry, the MAs, MDivs, and ThMs.
Of course we want to use these things for the Lord, but many times these things get to our heads and we forget the purpose of all our gifts and talents: to serve one another in the love of Christ. This reminded me of a talk I heard a long time ago by Tony Campolo. His challenge? When you die, would we rather have titles decorating your tombstone? Or would you rather have people sharing testimonies of how God has used you to impact His kingdom? I found a clip of my favorite part. It starts at 4 minutes, worth the watch!
What testimonies would you like people to say of you at the end of your life?