40 day bible challenge
Day 32 | 1 Timothy 3:8-13
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. 1 timothy 3:8-13
leadership within the church
Too often, our leaders disappoint us, by making foolish mistakes or by acting in self-serving ways. We may respond by searching for somebody else to follow, or by sticking by our leaders no matter what others say about them. Both options can be dangerous. So long as we’re following people, we’re never going to find a perfect leader, and searching for one just draws us towards people who are better at hiding their own problems. But if we instead follow without criticising, we’ll be misled by people who don’t practise what they preach, and we’ll end up denying our leader’s faults to defend ourselves from outside criticism.
While I don’t believe our leaders are a problem at St Thomas Crookes, Christians are clearly not immune to the dangers of bad leadership, and Paul frequently wrote his letters to churches that had been misled by false teachers or immoral people. While we should be following the example of Christ above all else, to do this effectively we need guidance and support from the church, and so we need to be able to trust people in the church to lead us well.
The exact role of a “deacon” is interpreted in different ways by different churches, but a deacon is generally someone who is appointed to meet the practical needs of the church or the surrounding community. It should be noted that many people who would not call themselves deacons fulfil these roles within our church today, and I feel this message is also addressed to them as well. Since people in these roles are representing the church, Paul focuses his criteria for becoming a deacon on their reputation and personal lives. The message is clear: we must hold our leaders to high standards.
“While we all sin, good leaders offer us an example to follow”
This is not a call to be hypocrites, making unreasonable demands of those that take on difficult roles. Paul writes this message as a leader in the early Christian church and addresses it to Timothy, a young man who’s clearly considered a leader in his own right, and so they both knew they’d be held to the same standards that they judged others by. While we all sin, good leaders offer us an example to follow, not because they hide their faults, but because they constantly strive to meet the high standards they set for themselves. If we act in this way we may win the respect of others, but as Paul finishes this passage by saying, the real reward is increased confidence in our Christian faith.
I feel that the message here is that we should only follow leaders with integrity, but at the same time, we should pray for these men and women as they face the challenges of leadership. We should also take note of their example as we try to follow Jesus in our own lives. One day soon, we may be considered leaders, if we’re not already, so we’d best start practising now!
We’re doing a 40 Day Bible Challenge as a Student Church to engage more with the Bible and the daily podcasts we do here as a church.
To listen to today’s podcast on the same passage as above click here.