By John Miltenberger
So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach.
He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation.
He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.
He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.
For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? [1 Timothy 3:2-5; NLT]
April 15th, 1912, at 0220 hours on a dark, foggy morning in the North Atlantic, the huge “unsinkable” ship Titanic, struck an iceberg. We all know what happened in those dark, frozen waters during the next few hours. We can also be sure of this: the visible portion of that deadly iceberg was only the tip of the problem; the deadliest portion of it was hidden under the dark waters, and it was the hidden part of that berg that destroyed the Titanic. And there is a spiritual application to this event that we need to understand in 2017.
I’ve referenced above, a part of the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, which has been plainly visible for centuries to all who read God’s Word. So just when, I wonder, did we get so “advanced” in our spiritual evolution, that we can now afford to disregard Paul’s clear instruction with regard to our appointed church leaders?
How many of us have turned a blind eye to spiritual leaders we’ve known who have continual, unholy chaos in their personal lives and families? You might ask, “Well, what can I do about it, anyway?” I would answer, that while it may not be wise to bank on always seeing good solutions, it still needs to be directly confronted and addressed by those who are on church boards or leadership committees, but too often we regurgitate the excuse, “Well, you know those PK’s!” I say, “Time’s up” for that excuse. If we are being ‘trained to reign’ on this earth, how is turning a blind eye to obvious issues going to help us in our training?
One day, we’ll be judged by what we did while we lived in the world – and what we should have done. Paul’s advice is clear and uncompromising. Tasking Timothy to appoint good leaders, Paul gave him firm guidelines concerning what kind of people Timothy should select, and for me, the last sentence is riveting: ‘For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” And by saying this to him, Timothy became eternally responsible for that information, and how he handled it.
Many of our churches today are living in their own spiritual, La La Land. Struggling to remain relevant, or regain relevancy, they desperately need to adhere to the Word of God, which again, is plainly visible, and has been for centuries. We don’t need modernity as much as we need faithfulness to clear Scriptural guidelines. If we did that well enough, maybe the “world” would be trying to be relevant to us!
For those who are on “selection” committees, know that every sermon should be composed of three critically balanced parts: Content, Presentation and Application, but what we often see in these times are messages long on Presentation (emotions), empty of content and having no practical application.
Choose wisely who you listen to, and choose wisely who you select to lead. Paul was not, by his own admission, eloquent of speech (Presentation), yet who today would doubt his apostolic authority in his content and practical application.
And with regard to 1 Timothy 3: 2-5, we are fully able to turn a blind eye to this inconvenient truth to our own destruction.
But that’s the easy way; it is not the ‘road less traveled.’
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