Help me, Father, to hear your voice as I read your Word today. Speak to my heart and move me to follow you more closely.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 5:17-25
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCan you think of a time when you felt encouraged? What contributed to that feeling—a job well done, praise from others, seeing tangible results, financial reward, or a mixture of all of these?
In these verses, Paul gives Timothy important pointers for dealing with church leaders.
First, show appreciation. The double honor referred to in verse 17 could mean appropriate financial renumeration, and affirmation or praise for things done well.
Treat them fairly. It is easy for a disgruntled church member to make an unfounded accusation, so Timothy is advised to only investigate misconduct if several people bear witness to it (v 19).
Be impartial. Don’t prejudge someone on subjective terms, but equally, don’t excuse someone because of your friendship with them (v 21).
Be cautious in appointing people to leadership (v 22). As in chapter 3, Timothy is encouraged to have a rigorous selection process. If a church appoints someone to leadership who then turns out to be unsuitable, the church bears the responsibility for their failings.
Be discerning. Don’t judge by first appearances (vs 24,25). Find out what a person’s character is like before appointing them to a leadership role (1 Samuel 16:7).
Some of these pointers were specific to certain situations, but some are always applicable.
How could you show appreciation for your spiritual leaders to affirm and encourage them?
Lord God, thank you for the gift my pastor is to our church. Show me how to meaningfully show my appreciation.
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