Lord, give us servant-minded leadership in the church.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 3:8–13
8 In the same way, deacons 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 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.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Leaders of all kinds are needed, in both the church and the world. Can you, under God’s guidance, encourage anyone to explore leadership?
Timothy is to put all who aspire to leadership to the test, examining their individual character against the standards Paul has outlined. Only those proven to be above reproach are to be allowed to serve as overseers and deacons. Clarity in faith and a commitment to upholding the truth is essential (9). Timothy is to examine them thoroughly, not being hasty to install anyone in office at this vulnerable time in the church’s life. It is debated whether verse 11 refers to the wives of leaders or female deacons (literally “the women”). The parallels between verses 8 and 11 seem to suggest the latter (both verses begin with “likewise,” both are charged to be “worthy of respect” and to be discreet in speech).
It is much easier to place someone in a leadership position than to ask them to step down. We get dazzled by the gifts the church needs. There are gaps to fill—and our needs sometimes overwhelm our caution. This letter reminds us of the damage that gifts without character can cause in a position of leadership. It cautions all those with oversight responsibility to probe character as much as gifts. Verse 13 reminds us of what there is to be gained by testing leaders appropriately: great confidence before God (perhaps in prayer?) and a reputation in the community that commends the Gospel.
Both the church and the world always need Christian leaders with grace, gifts and godly character. Godly character is the foundation without which nothing is secure.
Even Jesus grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). Where is God most at work in your character? And where might you be encouraging or resisting that work?
Lord, help us to determine just who should be serving in appointed positions of leadership.
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