1 Timothy 3 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Helen Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

In 1 Timothy 3, Apostle Paul gives specific guidance on how to behave as overseers, deacons and wives of such people.  He tells them to:  be above reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manage his own family well, and see that his children obey him with proper respect, not be a recent convert, have a good reputation with outsiders, be worthy of respect, not be malicious talkers, temperate and trustworthy, not pursue dishonest gain, be sincere and keep hold of the truth.

Apostle Paul talks about very concrete and detailed character issues about being an overseer, deacon or wife of one of these.  I was reminded through this text that being a Christian is not just about theoretical teachings, feel good Sunday messages, but rather it’s about how I actually live out my life, including the details of my life and the nitty gritty of my character.  For example, Apostle Paul gives guidance on how one is to manage his family, how his children are to relate to him, his reputation with outsiders, etc.  For many this makes people uncomfortable as they consider certain things, especially when it comes to the nuclear family, as being off limits to the church and is personal to each person.  Many people have a privacy screen around their lives, thinking that their lives are their own business and only certain things should be open to the church.  They are easily satisfied with weekly Sunday service attendance and even the mid-week prayer meeting, but when it comes to the details of ones’ life it is a personal matter.  But here clearly Apostle Paul says that because we are part of God’s household, which is the church of the living God, how we live our lives does matter and how we live our lives in detail is the church’s business, especially if we are in any sort of leadership position in the church.  And most of us are in a leadership or ministry position, whether it be as a Joyland teacher, Impact volunteer, witness to a friend or our family members, lead of a small group, lead of a ministry and so on.  Because we are part of the church of the living God, how we live our lives before God AND before others does matter.  And the fact that we are part of a church is no trivial matter, as it is the church that brings the truth to this world, often one person at a time, one relationship at a time.  It is through the church that the world is going to be saved, it is the hands and feet of God to reach this world.  And so we who make up the church need to take our part of it seriously and to live lives open to guidance and correction when necessary, as Apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians so concretely in this chapter, simply because we are part of the church of the living God.

I personally find this to be a hard teaching.  Often I find that I want to just satisfy the minimum requirements of being a good church goer so that I can be left to live out the rest of my life left alone and in peace.  Also, in my inherent rebelliousness and sinfulness, it is hard for me to accept correction, even gentle guidance on the details in life.  But I see that this is absolutely necessary as I don’t live my life on an island, rather because I am part of this church of the living God I have the responsibility to have a good and virtuous character.  And this church is the way that I in will be able to reach the world.  I realized that being a leader is not simply by position, but a privilege (“a noble task”), but with it comes this responsibility of stewarding the position well by being a person with noble character and service.  And to actually become that person of noble character and service, I need to be open to correction and guidance about the details of my life and character.

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