Wednesday, February 18, 2009

1 Timothy 3:1-16

In this part of his letter to Timothy, Paul outlines for us the standards for church leadership. Paul gives standards for a church overseer (the pastor, the senior warden, and perhaps all vestry members) and deacons (others that serve in the church). The standards for leadership are high, as one might expect, "... above reproach, ... temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, ... not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome..."

These are all fine qualifications for church leadership, or for any leadership for that matter, but these are not what stood out to me in this passage. Verses 4 and 5 are the key passages in my opinion. "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)" These verses apply to leadership in a church or business. Our first, or at least an equal, obligation is to our family.

If one is a volunteer, these verses tell us not to allow the volunteer activity to detract or distract from your family responsibilities. Sometimes Christian volunteers can make the mistake of thinking working for God at the church is so important it is all right to ignore their family. The same can be said of careers, one can make excuses as to why they need to work hours that cause them to neglect their family (e.g., to provide a certain life style for my family), but Paul reminds us that a primary obligation is to our family.

Using one's God given talents and abilities is extremely important to advance the Kingdom on this earth. Paul's message was not meant to be an excuse to get out of helping to advance the Kingdom. However, Paul's message was meant to remind us that we must maintain balance in our live. Balance between volunteer service in the church and a good and health family life.

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