Saturday, September 15, 2012

1 Timothy 3:4-7

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 3:4-7

Paul continues to talk about religious leaders in saying that they should be able to manage their household well.  For if a person cannot manage a house, why would anyone think that they can help manage a body of believers?  Paul adds that they must not be a recent convert.  If people are too recent in the faith, they may not have the spiritual maturity to remain focused on having God at the center.  Paul also says that they must be thought of well in the world, too.  A person’s reputation in the world will impact the witness for Christ for the whole community.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul makes a strong case for making sure a church evaluates a person’s ability to lead in the small things before leading in the large things.  If a person cannot manage a small space with only a few people, they likely aren’t going to be able to manage a larger space with more people – people that may not accept authority naturally as members of one’s own family may.  Now, of course this doesn’t mean a person has to be perfect.  Nobody can manage a house perfectly.  Children will occasionally disobey.  Spouses will occasionally argue.  Paul is not making a case that one needs to be perfect.  Paul is making a case that one needs to demonstrate the ability in spite of the times when things don’t quite go as planned.

Do you think it is fair to make assumptions about one’s ability to lead in church by looking at a person’s ability to lead in the home?  To what aspects of the church do you think this really applies?  Are there places in the church for people who are not necessarily strong managers in the home?

Second Thought:
Paul also speaks to the period of time that a person has been a disciple of Jesus.  This condition isn’t meant to devalue young people or new converts.  Rather, it is simply meant to honor the reality that often one of the most precious qualities of leadership is experience.  When dealing with issues, it is good to have people who may have dealt with the same kind of issues before.  When making decisions, it is good to have people who have enough experience in life so as to provide several different perspectives.  When dealing with other people, it is good to have people who have had the time to establish relationships with those people.  This doesn’t mean that a young person or a new convert can’t be a part of learning how to lead.  It just means that they should focus on developing leadership skills rather than necessarily implementing skills that are underdeveloped.

What is the best way to develop skills for leadership?  If you have potential for leadership, who might be the people to whom you need to relate in order to develop those skills?

Third Thought:
Paul also speaks about one’s reputation outside the church.  Remember that in the Great Commission there are essentially three mandates (not originally in this order).  First, go into the world and talk about Christ.  Second, baptize people when they come to Christ.  Third, make disciples by teaching them to obey what Christ commanded.  Notice that the process really begins with evangelism – going out into the world.  If a person has a bad reputation in the world, their ability to do any kind of evangelism is hindered.  If a leader has any kind of a bad reputation in the world, the ability for the whole organization to evangelize is hindered.

Does this thought make you really think twice about being a leader?  How does it make you feel to think that the reputations of your spiritual leaders may inherently affect your ability to do the work of God?  Why is it important to evaluate leadership before giving them authority?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 3:8-10
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