By Jerjuanna Cecille
As a black child growing into a woman having always understood the burden of titles. Ministry as a black woman was a title that I just did not want to have. There were many reasons why this title was not appealing. No one who looked like me (black and a woman) was seriously doing ministry. Then serving people that could not even say “Thank you” before their hand was out for the next request just made my skin itch! Also, I knew that if I submitted to this title, kneeled and allowed this crown to be placed on my head that the consequences would be great!
Not many of you should become teachers,
my fellow believers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
In this verse James is instructing the readers to understand the accountability that comes with teaching the word of God and to take the responsibility seriously! It is easy to take the role, title, “calling” of teacher lightly in the church, without considering its cost in terms of accountability. Jesus warned to whom much is given, from much will be required; and to whom much have been committed, they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48) Moffatt explains it perfectly! The words of Jesus and James cautions us that being among the teachers in God’s church is more than a matter of having natural or even spiritual gifts; there is an increased dimension of true character and right living. “James found that this area of church-work had become extremely popular (don’t that sound familiar). Hence his warning about its serious responsibilities. God will judge us on the last day with special strictness on account of our influence over others.” (Moffatt)
God will judge us on the last day with special strictness on account of our influence over others. This role, job, calling is nothing to play with! What many fail to realize is that your influence as a pastor, youth leader, worship leader, women’s director, etc. can lead people to and from God. One theologian explains it as you should be judged and condemnation greater than the common sinner, not only did one sin in thrusting themselves into that office to which God has never called them, but through their insufficiency the flocks over whom they have assumed the mastery perish for lack of knowledge, and their blood will God require at the watchman’s hand.
If you take this crown you will have to stand before God and answer for the souls of those you shepherded. Ultimately whose throne did you lead them to.
In wrestling with the burden of should I go into ministry, working all the other jobs I had dreamed to be but the burden would not leave me. My uncle’s advice rang loud in my ears once you submit and surrender the burden won’t leave but it will become bearable. As I began to tell (lie to) myself that I can live without putting that crown on because that weight, that consequence was too much to handle. The cross is brought to my mind and that Jesus did it for me. That he served willingly, humbly, in the face of those who hated and doubted him yet Jesus loved them to the cross. He loved them in preaching and teaching the truth of God’s glory and not his own. Ministry is calling us to die daily to our own will and way. Yet through the Holy Spirit there is a peace that surpasses all understanding that comes with submitting, surrendering and walking in obedience to the true call on your life. Knowing and understanding that on this side of heaven the crown will be a painful load to carry but when we see Jesus!