Updated: Jul 26
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
- 1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV
1 Timothy 3 is all about the qualifications of the leadership in the church of God. One of the first observations that can be made is that the qualifications are seen in the qualities and character of the individual. There is no mention that a leader needs to have a seminary degree, high social standing, lots of charisma or born into a respected family etc.
The qualifications for both an elder and a deacon is seen in the wisdom that is not of this world, but that which is from above. As James summarizes in our memory verse for this week:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17 NKJV
From the foundation of the world God has looked for those people whose hearts are after him. David did not seem to be a worthy candidate in his father’s eyes. Yet God saw a man after His own heart.
That is a big part of what God is looking for in those who would serve in any position in a church fellowship. Having a heart that is set on God and not on selfish ambition. Any other qualification is secondary to this.
The disciples of Jesus took a while to work this out and for a large part of Jesus ministry on earth, sought to position themselves at the top of the rung. Even on the last night of Jesus before his arrest we see this:
Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. - Luke 22:24 NKJV
Jesus’ act of washing their feat illustrated what their attitude should be as His followers. Peter learnt the lesson and wrote later on in his ministry this message for the church leadership:
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock -1Pe 5:1-3
This is called a “good work” in the first verse of Timothy chapter 3. The servant model of leadership does not mean you miss out, as some with a worldly mindset would think. It actually means you grow in your faith and God rewards you.
As we see for the deacon which literally means ‘Servant’.
For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 3:13 NKJV
Stephen and Philip were testament to this fact, picked to serve tables in the church gatherings, they excelled even the most prominent leaders of their time in their ministry.
So, time for some application.
Do you feel like you are missing something in your spiritual walk right now?
Do you feel spiritually week or ineffective?
Let me suggest that it’s a ‘good work’ to be part of God’s work.
Are you part of the good work?
Here is my suggestion:
Look for small, even unnoticed ways to serve. Without trying to draw attention to yourself for the praise of man.
Look for ways to serve others. Provide someone in need with a meal. Hold an umbrella for someone getting to the church building in the rain. If there is some rubbish on the ground, pick it up and don’t expect someone else to take care of it. Take initiative to serve others. I do realise some are physically unable to participate in some physical acts of service. Here is another great way to serve without limits: purpose to pray for someone. How about pick one person this week and pray for them, and lets see what God does in our midst!
It all starts there! Then if you want to serve in a specific area, talk to me and we will make something happen.
I do want to say that many people are serving faithfully in our midst and for that i am truly grateful and the church is blessed. The teaching this week was not intended to be a general rebuke for everyone, but more an encouragement that you can have a more fruitful walk with God if you step out to serve Him and the body of Christ.
God bless you!