Too Big for Your Britches?
Pretty good advice is it not?
The focus of the following article will be on one aspect of President Truman’s advice, “Never get too big for your britches.”
An account of Col. Crockett's Tour to the North and Down East, 1835, written by Davy Crockett: “I myself was one of the first to fire a gun under Andrew Jackson. I helped to give him all his glory. But I liked him well once: but when a man gets too big for his breeches, I say Good bye.”
Humility is at the forefront of this statement. Not thinking too highly of one-self as God warns us in Romans 12 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Elevating one-self above others is not only unbecoming, it is sinful. Within the local body, we constantly must be on the alert regarding our behavior and how we perceive ourselves. The context of Romans 12 is that all members of the body are one in Christ. Some have certain duties to perform that differ from one another, but we are all members of the body of Christ. The warning for all of us is to think soberly and understand that it is God who gives us duties to perform and the ability to perform them.
Everyone in the Lord’s church is important! We are all equal in the Lord, and there is no such thing as a hierarchy among brethren. Yes, elders have the oversight of the flock, and God commands that Christians be in subjection to them as they follow Christ. Wives are to be in subjection to their husbands. All of us are to be in subjection to God and one another. I Peter 5:5
Elders are simply men who have qualified themselves over time to shepherd the flock. This is God’s will. Men who really understand the responsibilities of an elder are in such awe of the work, that they are continually humbled and are not tempted to elevate themselves over the flock. In fact it is just the opposite; they recognize they are servants to God and His flock. The scriptures warn elders to not lord it over the flock. 1 Peter 5:3
1 Peter 5 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (KJ version)
Deacons are simply men who have been set-aside for a given work as well. These men have also qualified themselves over time, and as the need arises, the church selects qualified men to serve. These men have different roles from the elders and have no oversight of the church. Yet, these men are no less important than an elder to the local body.
Members of the local body are a royal priesthood!
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
This passage, among others, shows the importance of Christians and their role in the church and world. What the scriptures do not teach is that we are to think ourselves better than others. We are not to be haughty or consider men and women of the denominational world as inferior. In fact, just the opposite, we are to love all men and want them all to be saved. Jesus died on the cross for all men. Heb. 7:27
The desire to have preeminence is a character flaw and a sign of spiritual immaturity. The New Testament uses this word two times:
Col_1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
3 Jn_1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
Christ is the only one with preeminence over man. Who among us would doubt that? The problem occurs when men begin to think that their wealth, education, and/or station in life make them better than others and entitled.
It is said in 3 Jn. 1:9 that Diotrephes loved to have superiority over others.
The desire to compete and to have rank over others is a common trait among many. The scriptures are plentiful in the NT & OT warning against this behavior.
Who Is the Greatest?
Luke 22:24-27 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Who is greatest among us? Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.