SERVING THE KING
Lord Jesus, you did not come to us to be served, but to serve. Please accept my thanksgiving and give me your heart to serve others.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 3:8-13
8 In the same way, deacons[a] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[b] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
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.
Consider how passages like this can inform your life as a disciple.
Having considered those in leadership, Paul now focuses on those who serve within the church. Should we be involved in a local church, we may be familiar with the term ‘deacon.’ However, the role of the deacon varies considerably between one tradition and another. The Greek word diaknos, commonly translated as deacon, could also be translated as ‘servant.’ Naturally, as Christians we are all called to serve one another, but Paul is here referring to those with particular duties of service. In a similar way to how he laid out the qualifications for an overseer, Paul here lays out the prerequisites for deacons.
Stephen is perhaps the most easily recognized example of a deacon from Scripture. While not explicitly referred to as a deacon, Stephen was one of seven appointed to oversee the distribution of food for the Hellenistic widows. While this may seem a task-related role, needing perhaps those with a flair for administration and hospitality, Luke recalls qualities more commensurate with spiritual maturity.1 Clearly, Stephen’s ministry extended beyond waiting on tables and ultimately led to his martyrdom. I wonder if the author of the letter we’re currently considering paused, as he wrote, to recall the martyrdom of perhaps the first deacon, of whose execution he had approved.2 In closing, John Stott reminds us that the words episkopos (overseer) and diakonos (servant) were both applied to Jesus within the New Testament.3 Peter referred to Christ as the ‘Overseer of your souls’4 and Jesus identified himself on many occasions as one who came to serve.5 What an honor is ours to be able to share in the ministry that Christ has exemplified for us.
Consider prayerfully the core qualities described over the past two days regarding self, family, relationships, treatment of others, and faith. Ask God for help in any of these areas.
Lord Jesus, when I am serving even the least of those in need, I am serving you. Help me to serve in ways that please you and bring you glory.
1 Acts 6:3–5 2 Acts 8:1 3 John Stott, The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus, IVP, 1996, p102 4 1 Pet 2:25 5 Eg Mark 10:45
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