Voice and Touch
Lord, my praise rises to You from whom all blessings come. Engage me now with Your Word as I come before You.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 3:1-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Anything worth accomplishing is hard…. There can be great satisfaction in knowing what God has asked you to do and then doing it” (Leith Anderson).
Max DePree tells of the advice given to him by a nurse when visiting his baby granddaughter in the hospital. Zoe was born prematurely, and sadly her father had left the family. Max was now the surrogate father, and the nurse told him to stroke Zoe’s arms with his finger and tell her how much he loved her: “She needs to be able to connect your voice with your touch.” As DePree points out, this is at the heart of being a leader.
Paul’s concern in this passage is the same. He writes about leaders in the Church, but he is much more concerned about character than job descriptions. There is not much about church structure or office (various words are used—elder, bishop, overseer), and there is little emphasis on the nature of the work in which they should engage. Rather, in common with other passages in the pastoral epistles, there is a list of practical, moral and spiritual qualifications. As we read vs. 2-7, and the similar list in vs. 8-11, we realize that most of these qualities are to be displayed by all Christians. The most obvious exceptions are the ability to teach (2) and the requirement that they not be recent converts (6).
The point is that while those who serve in the church must have a firm hold of the truth and of sound doctrine (as we have seen in the letter already), they must also be people of a particular sort. Their character and behavior must reflect the God whom they serve and the gospel which they proclaim. In their care of people in the church, they should be known for godly character and gentle behavior. At the heart of any service in the church is the need always to connect your voice with your touch.
All Christian leaders are vulnerable and regularly face temptation. Pray for those you know, that their personal lives, families and ministries be protected.
Father, I know You are more interested in who I am than in what I do. Continue to make me and mold me in Your image, I pray.
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