When Scott was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2009, we had to face the very real possibility that his illness could result in death. I will never know every thought that passed through his head or the substance of the tough conversations he held with God in those days. What I do know is that his life was marked by a quiet assurance that no matter the outcome God would take care of him and his family. His faith was firmly anchored in the goodness and provision of our awesome God.
This morning my reading is 1 Timothy 3. This chapter succinctly lays out the qualifications for someone to be considered for a governing position in a local church.
The overseer which may be titled elder, pastor, minister or priest depending on your faith tradition should be:
- Above reproach
- The husband of one wife
- Temperate, self-controlled, respectable and hospitable
- Able to teach
- Not given to drunkenness
- Not violent but gentle
- Not quarrelsome
- Not a lover of money
- Mange his own family well
- Have a good reputation
The deacon which may also be referred to as a lay leader should be:
- Worthy of respect
- Not indulging in much wine
- Engaged in an honest and ethical line of work
- Keep hold of the faith
- Have wives that are worthy of respect who do not gossip and are trustworthy
- Be the husband of one wife
- Manage his own family well
These are daunting lists that make it clear those in church leadership should be the finest among those in our church and community. Later in this chapter, Paul notes that church leaders will have "great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus." (Verse 13)
When God first began whispering in Scott's heart that He wanted Him to lead, he felt neither qualified or worthy. I suspect most anointed leaders feel precisely the same way. I, however, could witness his unwavering faith in Christ. I knew with certainty he was called and qualified to lead.
Jesus, thank you for church leaders. Today I lift them up to You and pray that You would give each one concrete assurance in their faith. You are the hope that anchors the soul.