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Monday, May 15, 2017

IS YOUR TITLE GIVEN OR EARNED?

OVERRATED TITLES

Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another:”

Romans chapters 1-11 are the doctrinal chapters of the book. Romans chapters 12-16 are the practical chapters or chapters of application of this book. Normally, the interpretation of verse 10 would be to give in. Certainly that is taught in the Scriptures. We are not to take a brother to civil court is certainly taught in I Corinthians 6-1-6, which is in essence giving in. However, verse 10 is not speaking about giving in and letting someone have their way. 

Abraham and Lot’s controversy with the herdsman fighting is not the proper application of this verse. Jacob and Esau with their twenty years of broken fellowship ending with Jacob deciding to go back to Esau and ask for forgiveness with his gifts for Esau is not an example of this passage.

We emphasize the words “preferring one another” but there are other words penned there too. It says, “in honour preferring one another.” When there is an honor you would rather someone else have it rather than you. It is not about giving in when two people have a disagreement. This verse uses on purpose the word “honour.” This simply means having no ambition for position or power or title.

·      In honour preferring one another
·      In ambition preferring one another
·      In title preferring one another
·      In power preferring one another
·      In position preferring one another

This would mean possessing no aspirations for promotion to another title. But preacher should not a person have dreams? Yes, but not for power, title, or a position. One should dream about doing more not being more!

I am thinking of some dear staff people who served with me for almost three decades at the Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, such as Mrs. Jennifer Petticoffer. When I was installed as pastor she was a 16-year-old young lady. One Sunday our piano player gave me a 3-page resignation letter and walked out of the auditorium after a 15-minute offertory. 

I called Jennifer that Sunday afternoon and asked her to play the piano. As a teenager she stepped in and did the best she could do. Later on I asked her to give herself to not only the piano, but also the music ministry. She did and eventually became LBT’s Music Coordinator. She had over 70 singing groups, 40 piece orchestra, 70 voice adult choir, a dozen youth choirs, as well as Texas Baptist College music program, and then eventually Dean of Women. AMAZING! She took a simple job with a simple title and then quickly became in her field a nationally known Music Coordinator.

Mrs. Petticoffer worked a little harder, a little more, and that hard work has promoted her not a seeking of power or a title on her part! She did not become known by being promoted, but by perfecting her work and doing it better. She took a job of playing for the congregation to preparing specials and 30 years later is nationally known!

God is saying His children ought to have ambition to work harder, produce more, and forget the titles. God wants His children to let Him take care of the title.

In honor preferring one another or ones desire for promotion ought to be the promoting of oneself to do more than one is doing, rather than being more! Dr. C. W. Fish is a prime example of this. When Dr. Jack Hyles needed a custodian at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, he hired C. W. Fisk. This new hire became a proficient personal soul winner with many converts walking the aisles of the great First Baptist Church. This new hire became so valuable that Dr. Hyles had to promote him to Associate Pastor. C. W. Fisk did nothing but do more without ever asking to be more!

Quit aspiring to titles, positions, and make your current title or position more valuable. Give it all you have! Elevate your title and position by the work you do. Make your work produce more and you will promote the title you currently have been given without even realizing it you will have a greater title without a promotion.


NOTHING IS AS OVERATED AS A TITLE, POSITION, OR POWER

Think with me for a minute? Moody Church, Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, Highland Park Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, and First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas were probably the most influential churches in America. 

Moody Church of Chicago, Illinois, was pastored by Dr. H. A. Ironside, Temple Baptist Church was pastored by Dr. G. B. Vick, Highland Park Baptist Church was pastored by Dr. Lee Roberson, First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, was pastored by Dr. J. Frank Norris, and First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, was pastored by Dr. W. A. Criswell.

Who followed these men of God? When these men died or resigned every one wanted those pastorates but the title, position, and power went down to the level of the new pastor as well as the church they became pastor of!

Churches do not build men it is men who build churches! In honor preferring one another put on the bottom shelf simply means one does not become upset because he is not elected to the a deacon. If one is aspiring for a title, a position, and for power he will lose because the work will fall to his work level.

·      Baptist Bible Fellowship-founded by Dr. G. B. Vick
·      Southwide Baptist Fellowship-founded by Dr. Lee Roberson
·      General Association of Regular Baptist-founded by Dr. Bob Ketchum
·      Conservative Baptist Association-founded by Dr. Myron Cedarholm

All of these men were nationally known not because they were the head of their particular group. I can prove this statement by asking the question, “Who followed them?” I doubt if very few reading this chapter, familiar with the previous movement of independent Baptists, can name their successors.

These men listed worked so hard that their work sustained their title and position so that when they died the work fell to the next worker’s level of work! That is why I would often say when Dr. Hyles was living that the preachers around America had best quit hoping Dr. Hyles would die so they could become the pastor.

Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

·      Elevate your work and you automatically elevate your title
·      The people who are absorbed with getting the work done are not title seekers
·      Quit wasting time aspiring for a title, position, or power
·      Promote your work and you work will promote you without a new title

Allow me to give you an example. Pastor Homer Richie replaced Dr. J. Frank Norris as pastor of the famous First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas. He was greeted by 3,000 people in attendance his first Sunday. There was another pastor who was the same age as Homer Richie who pastored some thirty miles away. His name was Jack Hyles! Pastor Hyles was the same age as Pastor Homer Richie and on the very same Sunday Jack Hyles was greeted by 44 people as he started as the new pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. Those two churches passed each other but were going in different directions.

Take notice of this! Every church Jack Hyles took was running less than the one he left and in this day and time that is unheard of! Each church provided a greater opportunity, but they were numerically running less. The dear church I left up north to come to Texas was running more than Longview Baptist Temple was even though there was no comparison facility wise and population wise. The child of God’s goals ought to be work goals not title goals. The goals ought to be production goals and not position goals. If you have to remind me of your title you have not earned your title.

What is the opposite of “in honour preferring one another”? It is the mother of James and John approaching Jesus and asking that her sons sit on the right hand and left hand in the kingdom! What is the opposite, a man in a local church who becomes upset at not being selected for a position? In honor, or in position, or in title is God’s desire for his children. 

Preferring someone else over ones’ self! What is the opposite, a preacher turning on his college because he was not recommended for an honorary Doctor’s degree? What is the opposite, a person leaving his church because he was not chosen Superintendent of a Sunday school department?

Simply it means when it comes to honor, position, or title we are to prefer someone else to receive the position or title. When it comes to work let your work sustain your title or position and let greater works build your title into a greater title. 

I did not seek the Longview Baptist Temple. I was merely passing through town taking a deacon’s nephew to the Roloff Homes for some help with his addiction. I did not seek a National Soul Winning Clinic. The Clinic started with my good friend Dr. Howard Hall of Shreveport Baptist Temple bringing his staff over to discuss how to reach more people and baptize more converts.

Psalm 75:6-7, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge that putteth down one, and setteth up another.”


SUMMARY

·      Nothing is as overrated as a title, position, or power
·      Elevate your work and you automatically elevate your title
·      The people who get the work done are not title seekers
·      Quit wasting time aspiring for a title, position, or power
·      Promote your work and your work will promote you
·      Settle down and go to work and let the work go to work for you


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