Today's Lectionary Text
1 Timothy 3:1-9
The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once,temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
These verses share a lot to unpack as overseers aspiring to live according to qualifications. Looking past the possible overwhelming list, what I love in this passage is that it pertains to everyone. In order to get close to these qualifications, we first focus on an aspiration to be Christ-like and ultimately reflect him as image-bearers in all that we do.
My personality gravitates towards qualifications and clear expectations primarily because they help me grasp what others want from me and what I can expect of others. It also sets the precedent for how to act in different situations. I am a rule follower, but more importantly I am a child of God. If I do not approach these verses with a heart of knowing God’s grace, I might wind up feeling like a massive failure. I have fallen short of these qualifications in my own strength, but through the Grace of God I may one day come close. Daily surrender and spiritual disciplines help me avoid the pitfalls and traps that are present.
We should feel encouraged, not discouraged, and so as you look into these areas within your life, I find it hopeful to remember the following: We are all overseers of the kingdom of God. We are all spiritual leaders. We are called to be caretakers of God’s church: but not by our strength alone! Praise be to God!
Coordinator of Lay Leadership
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, thank you for the clarity in which you instruct and qualify us. Thank you that we do not have to strive on our own, but that you are with us! Though we fall short you meet us where we are and see us even in our weaknesses. But you do not leave us there! Through the Word, body of believers, and your daily grace we push forward, desiring this noble task ahead of us. Amen.
Editor's note: This devotional was originally published on Feb. 12, 2019.
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