The Truth About Titles

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Perhaps it’s a known fact about me, or perhaps it’s little known, but truth none the less, I like titles. I like being acknowledged as a person of purpose. Not of stature, because that to me seems arrogant, but I like the fact that in any given organization I have purpose and evident works with outcomes. It is the fabric of who I am. Who God created me to be. So in the study of Paul’s writings, I found it interesting that Thessalonians is the only one that Paul didn’t acknowledge his title of Apostle, or status as servant or prisoner of Christ. He simply listed his name with the others who were with him as he wrote to the church in Thessalonica.

One hundred years ago or less, I worked for the local newspaper in town, the Calhoun Chronicle. It’s a small weekly paper with a circulation of less than 3,000 where I was Advertising Manager. It was my first ever job with an official title and it was one of my fav’s! It was there that I found a passion for publicity that would serve me well throughout the years. The Editor at the time was Merrill Pollack. A retired editor for the New York Times, and to say he was quite the character wouldn’t do him justice! He was also the first boss who treated me as an equal and brought joy into our lives every day with his story telling ability and his vast experience in the media.

Depending upon the tasks of the day, Merrill would retitle us accordingly. If we were going shopping, we were fashion editors, if we were going out to lunch we were food editors, he was so much fun to work with. He shared his vast amount of knowledge with us without any sense of arrogance, but rather exuberance in handing it down to the next generation.

While I’m not sure Paul would have been as crazy as Merrill, I imagine him to have been a zealot and more to share his vast amount of knowledge with others. As Saul he had allowed religious authority to consume him; but as Paul he was just as humbled as he was proud in his previous position. But never lacking confidence! Would to God I was such a one. I lack confidence every day, which may be why titles are important. I guess I’m self diagnosing my psyche.

The first chapter of 1 Thessalonians is packed so full! The Bible never ceases to amaze me how God can use just a few words to express so many important truths.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 KJV

[1] Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. [2] We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; [3] Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; [4] Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 

The lack of a title came with a few concepts from the commentary’s but no real explanation. Just something to take note of. Perhaps it was a either because he was well known by this church, having been lately with them; or lest these young converts should be offended and stumble at any pompous title, which they might imagine carried an appearance of arrogance and pride; or because there were as yet no false apostles among them, who had insinuated anything to the disadvantage of Paul, as in other places, which obliged him to assert his character and magnify his office. We won’t know until we get to Heaven and ask him ourselves, if it ever comes up.

Paul then moves on to the matter at hand that was all important to him, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is his purpose and he gives great thanks that it is their purpose as well. They are laboring in love, and patience of hope in the eyes of God, showing evidence of God’s purpose for having made them of the elect. That too is my focus this morning as I prepare my heart for church.

I have carried the title “Sunday School Teacher,” proudly for 20 years. But over the past few weeks I stepped out of that position and back into the position of student of the word in the adult class. I really, really struggled with that decision. Until yesterday when I realized the great level of peace I had and excitement for being in a class of my own. There is a time to teach, and a time to listen, and this is my time.  I pray that you have that place of learning. It’s important in these troubled times to have a good understanding of the word and what’s going on around us. How does it effect us, and some things that shouldn’t effect us.

I pray today finds you in the Lord’s house, hearing His word and having it stir your soul. Grace and peace to you… from the Lord and Shari, His servant. A title I carry proudly.

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