Reading for Tuesday, August 21: 1 Timothy 3
In this chapter, Paul spells out qualifications for church leaders: elders and deacons. It’s interesting that Scripture lays out the qualifications for these men, but no qualifications for “ministers”, at least not in the sense that we understand the term in our churches today. What does that tell you about the leadership structure God intends for His churches?
As a full-time minister, I certainly appreciate the support and encouragement I receive from our church family. But I also want to recognize the tireless service of the men who serve our flock as elders. Oversight can be a time-consuming project, but they commit themselves to it wholeheartedly because they understand this as one of the demands of leadership. But they compliment this with a true pastoral touch, a shepherding presence among the flock. This begins in their families, where these men again exercise oversight. But that oversight is coupled with true compassion, modeled first by the Good Shepherd. Take a moment and thank God for your shepherds and their families. They give of themselves, they pour their hearts out in prayer, they balance their responsibilities at work with responsibilities at home and responsibilities at church…and they deserve our prayers.
And the deacons of the church deserve commendation as well for their leadership and stewardship. In my opinion, we often overlook these men who commit themselves to the ministry of the church, men who serve in many roles either public or private. We have one such deacon at Mayfair, a man who has quietly prepared our communion trays nearly every Sunday for the past 15 years or so. Every Saturday afternoon, he brings his radio to the building — years ago it was a transistor radio; now it’s his iPod! — and he begins the two-hour long process of filling communion cups for 1,600-1,700 worshipers. I run into him some Saturdays if I happen to be at the building for something. But he’s there ever week, quietly serving the Lord and our church body. These deacons and their families are equally deserving of our prayers. Thank God for the men who are carrying out the ministries in your local church. Pray that God will grant them strength as He mounts them up on wings like eagles. “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus,” (v13).