Sunday, September 16, 2012

1 Timothy 3:8-10


Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 3:8-10

Paul then turns to talk about deacons.  He says that they must behave appropriately and not hypocritically.  They must not be devoted to wine.  They must not pursue the acquisition of wealth in a dishonest manner.  They must hold to the faith with a cathartic conscience.  Paul says they should be examined before they serve and then allowed to serve if they are proven to be above accusation.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Let’s talk first about the word “deacon.”  In many churches, the word deacon has come to mean “leader.”  The board of deacons is often the governing board of the church.  That’s not at all what Paul is talking about here.  When Paul uses the word deacon, he is talking about a job description.  The job description of deacon literally is “one who cares for the needs of others.”  This is a job description involving some authority.  But primarily this is a job description of service.  The deacon is a position of a skilled servant; not governance.

Why do you think Paul would put out a list of qualifications for those who serve?  Does it surprise you to know that those in the church who were entrusted with the care of others is given a title?  Do you think that only those with the title deacon are able to serve and care for the church?

Second Thought:
If we look at this list of qualifications, many of them have to do with behavior.  People who are serving in the name of Christ should not behave inappropriately, hypocritically, or in any way that their work can be questioned.  They should not behave in a way that their motivation is questionable (alcohol as well as money).  This is why they should be examined before being given the blessing of a title of service.  Our behavior will influence how people perceive our witness.

What do you think is your own worst quality with respect to your behavior – that is, what part of who you are is most likely to jeopardize your testimony?  What quality is the most likely to speak positively about your testimony?

Third Thought:
One specific qualification that I saved for last is the qualification about approaching the faith with a cathartic heart.  A catharsis is a moment of healing, clarity, or emotional breakthrough.  Paul knows that we all have sin in our life.  None of us is perfect.  Thus, we all have something to work on.  We all can give great testimony about how God is working through us to overcome our weaknesses if we are willing to work with God through catharsis.

How do you think you are with respect to being able to work towards catharsis with respect to your faults?  How good are you at being able to talk about what God is doing through you with respect to your weaknesses?  Why is being able to talk about what God is doing important to our testimony as servants?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 3:11-13
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