For the love of…”Titles” Pt I

“Baptism! Baptism! Baptism! The servant of the Most High God, Jesus Holiness, Saint Dikeji Mirijesu, the Demon Destroyer also known as Osuakpeje – The World Leader, Jesus Doctor, The apple of God’s eye, founder God’s Grace ministries incorporated worldwide, Bishop of the Whole Wide World will be baptising people who have given their lives to Christ…”

I kid you not. The above is an actual advertisement for a baptism service, right here in Warri. In fact I recorded it on my phone and transcribed the juicy parts for you word for word. A few words came to mind when I heard this advert; Preposterous, Ridiculous, Sham, Charlatan, I could go on and on.
I’m not here to just slam him or any other richly titled “man of God”, but I must say I find it very difficult to believe that this “bishop of the whole wide world” is a genuine man of God. For one, this fellow has almost as many titles as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had, while on earth. I mean the man calls himself a saint! Even Peter, James and John didn’t call themselves saints, the Catholic Church did that by canonising them.

I have tried and am still trying to understand some people’s anal obsession with titles. When I was in school, I had the unfortunate experience of calling a lecturer “Mr” instead of “Dr”. I had no idea he was a doctor, he wasn’t in my department, he wasn’t in my academic circuit; but hey that didn’t matter; he didn’t give a hoot. He damn near bit my head off for disrespecting him.
It seems to me there’s a pre conception that titles earn you respect and/or recognition; first of all titles don’t earn you respect, your acts do. And recognition doesn’t necessarily mean honourable recognition. I mean, I’m pretty sure you guys won’t forget the name of the pastor in the aforementioned advert in a hurry, and when you do recollect his name, you’ll most likely shake your head or laugh out loud; both reactions do not exactly describe “honourable recognition”.
Popular history recalls Idi Amin’s declared title to be: “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.” I lost my breath reading that whole litany at once.
He was neither president for life (eight years to be exact, then chased out of his country) nor was he lord of any beasts, earth air or sea, and while he ruled Uganda, that was it, he didn’t conquer nothing else.

Ok so the major examples I mentioned above are extremes, but I’m pretty sure everyone reading this has come across individuals who have developed a disproportionately high opinion of themselves, accentuated by the parade of letters arranged before their surnames.

Human beings have always had a tendency to add further descriptions to themselves to build self worth. I’m not against titles, I’m just saying they are not all in all.
Michaelangelo, the painter who painted the entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican – a supreme display of painting genius (google the Sistine Chapel and take a look at the ceiling) – was simply known as Michaelangelo. Not Michaelangelo “the great” or “the magnificent” or the “wizard hands”. Beethoven ( Composer extraordinaire ), Leonardo Da Vinci ( Painter, Scientist, Inventor ), Handel ( Composer ), Galilleo Galilei (Scientist who propounded the world is round and not the center of the universe, not flat like the church had people believe), William Shakespeare ( Playwright ), Edgar Degas ( Painter ); all supremely talented individuals who’s impact on the world is still keenly felt – some centuries – after their deaths were all known by their first names. No ridiculous titles added.

My take on these is this; work hard to earn the respect of God and your peers, more often than not, the titles will follow after that. If they don’t, it doesn’t detract one thing from you, it doesn’t remove all you’ve accomplished; and if they do come, keep your head bowed; no matter how entitled you are, there are people out there whose achievements and titles dwarf yours.
The Bible tells us in James 4:6b; God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

Cheers
Ariel Ugorji

As usual, hit me up with your comments in the comment box below and/or on twitter @arielugorji

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