First Timothy 3:2-3
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Who’s Standard for Leaders?
When Paul was giving the qualifications for a pastor or overseer (the same thing), he set the bar pretty high, but it should be because they are to be above reproach; however, it wasn’t really Paul’s standard but God’s. We must use this standard in 1 Timothy 3 in our church to see if a man is qualified to be a pastor. We don’t use our own ideas because God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7), and since we can’t see into the human heart, God set a written standard so we could read and know what that standard is for those who would desire to be a pastor (1 Tim. 3:1). A deacon of a church is set to much the same standard (1 Tim. 3:11-12). These biblical standards are not man’s ideas but come straight from God Himself. We must uphold and pray for our spiritual leaders to be conformed into God’s standards and not our own because our own standards are human-generated and, therefore, are fallible and capable of being in error.
Judging by Sight
I heard a true story of a new pastor who had just moved into town. He was visiting with a prospective member in an apartment that was adjacent to a bar. The bar and the apartment apparently shared the same hallway where the staircase was, so when two women saw the pastor walk into the entrance to visit a prospective member, they thought he was going into the bar. Someone who was seated in the park spotted him coming out, and they thought that he walked like he’d been drinking. The word got around town and came back to the pastor that several people from the community saw him go into the bar and came out looking a bit tipsy. What had actually happened was that the pastor had apparently tweaked his knee on the way down the stairs and had a limp when he came out of the building. People had judged by sight and assumed that he’d been drinking. Instead of praying for this new pastor to be conformed to God’s written standard, they had gossiped about him and judged him unworthy according to their own standard. See the problem here? One has to wonder if the pastor’s first sermon was on gossip.
Failing to Pray Is Sin?
When Samuel was giving his farewell address to the nation of Israel, they asked him to pray for God’s servants since they had sinned (1 Sam. 12:19). In one of the most memorable statements that Samuel ever uttered and given at the time near his departure, he said far be it from him if he failed to pray for them (1 Sam. 12:23). Apparently, Samuel saw it as sin to not pray for the servants of Israel. We should be praying for our spiritual leaders consistently but also praying for them to be conformed to God’s standards and not our own human standards, for God’s standards are the only ones that count.
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father God, thank You for the church leadership. I pray for those who are now in places of leadership, that they would live up to and be conformed to Your standard alone and not my own. In the name of the precious Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray.
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