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Excuse Me…Officer.

May 1, 2012

Do you ever come to a passage in the Bible and just sort of assume that it isn’t talking to you…at least, not right now…maybe it will be in the future…but not today.  It’s interesting how that works sometimes.  In chapter 3 of the first letter to Timothy, we find one of these texts.  In a passage that is specifically talking about the Biblical offices of Elder and Deacon, it might be easy to just skip over that part…unless of course you find yourself in such an office.  But, we don’t skip over passages like the story in John 4 about the Samaritan woman at the well because we aren’t from Samaria.  What we need to ask, regardless of position, or age, or ethnicity is; what does this passage say to me?

Take a moment and read through the passage of 1Timothy 3:1-13.

In this text, we see a rather clear and concise picture of what we should expect from the elders and deacons of the church.  It should be noted that this text does not say, “If you have elders and deacons, this is what they should look like.”  Essentially…there is no, “if.”  These are offices that Paul is unpacking as necessary and essential.  It is tempting to go farther on that subject, since many contemporary churches have neglected to include these roles, but I think it best to leave it at that.

What we should notice in this passage is that both the men and women are addressed.  Husbands and wives are both referenced for both of the offices that are mentioned.  Now, different churches and denominations have varying ideas about how these offices are carried out, and different takes on who is eligible to hold these offices.  Regardless of all of that, what I would encourage you to do today, is to look at the descriptions that are given and ask yourself how your life tracks with the attributes that are described.  Because listen, it would be easy to say, “Well, I’m not an elder so I guess I don’t have to worry about it.”  But, if you look at these descriptions, I don’t think you are going to find any attributes that would be considered a negative to have ascribed to you.  In fact, what Paul is describing in these offices is not an arbitrary list of moral codes and disciplines to live by…this isn’t Buddhism…no, he is describing a life that looks more and more like Jesus.

Ultimately, that is our example.  So yes, elder Joe might be a great man, an example to consider in your life…but our pursuit ought to be to look more like Jesus.  Our pursuit ought to be that which will bring us closer to the One who was holy…the One who was blameless…the One who set the example in both service and leadership.  There is a beautiful example that Jesus not only told but also demonstrated.  Remember when He washed the feet of the apostles?  That wasn’t just a cute story about how we are dirty people…that was an example of the new commandment that Jesus gave when He said in John 13:31, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  That’s the expectation, not just of the church officers, but of all believers…you and me…that we love one another.  A good question to ask ourselves might be, “How do I do that…today?”  And listen…you can answer that question and still be rendered ineffective…if you let the challenges of loving those you deem unlovable stand in the way.  Our only hope…our only hope…is that by the grace driven effort, fueled by the Spirit, that we love one another well.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 2, 2012 7:10 am

    This is great. We do have a tendency to ignore such passages, even when it deals specifically with elders and deacons. Yet it all applies, even to us.

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