Jeremiah 1-2 1 Timothy 3
“In the same way, deacons must be respected by others, not saying things they do not mean. They must not drink too much wine or try to get rich by cheating others.” (1 Timothy 3:8 NCV)
In this chapter, Paul spends the time to talk about the character qualities of Christian leaders. He gave different classes of leaders, but the basic attributes for the different groups were the same. They had to have a strong moral character. They had to be gentle and peaceable. Much as the Baptist in me would like to say that they shouldn’t drink alcohol, the admonition here was that they weren’t addicted to it. They were supposed to be straight talkers. They were to uphold godly marriage and in their lives. They must be mature in their faith, and, perhaps most importantly, they were to live in such a way that people inside and outside the church respected them.
Many so-called Christian leaders have taken prominent places in public discussion because of the rise of mass media. Televangelists, authors, motivational speakers, and others who have thrust themselves into the spotlight are often seen as the leaders of today’s church but tend to be criticized by Christians and non-Christians alike. They engender a lack of respect by lavish lifestyles and overindulgent luxury in all they say or do. They focus on gathering wealth and prestige for themselves while only showing a nodding acquaintance with the gospel they use for personal gain. The true, unsung leaders of the Church are the people serving God in their local churches. There are Sunday School teachers for all ages who show great Christian values and teach them to children and adults alike. Children’s workers, especially, pass those character qualities on to their students. Deacons and professional clergy at these local churches, while not perfect of course, take these words seriously and live by the power of God’s Spirit. The super heroes, in my view, of the faith are those bi-vocational pastors who show those character qualities while working a full-time job, and then turn around and exhibit them while leading their churches. God has given His people some amazing leaders – we just need to look in the right places.
Lord, thank You for those people in the church who lead according to Your love and grace. Thank You for leaders who recognize the awesome responsibility that You’ve placed on their shoulders and reflect Your principles every day.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.