Friday 17 February 2012

Bible Book:
1 Timothy

"Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching." (v. 17)

1 Timothy 5:17-25 Friday 17 February 2012


In 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 4 we've looked at the personal andinterpersonal skills which make for an effective and respectedleader, one who can assume responsibility for the spiritual life ofthose under their care. Now Paul lays down some practicalrules.

There is the reminder to make sure that those in authority areproperly rewarded for their work. The mention of muzzles and oxen(verse 18) refers to the threshing of the grain. Oxen were drivenrepeatedly across the sheaves of corn until separation of grain wascomplete, but the law laid down that they should be free to eat asmuch grain as they wished by way of reward for their work (Deuteronomy 25:4).

Particularly worthy of honour is the elder whose ministries werepreaching and teaching, the building up of the young, the newconverts and those whose faith was still in its infancy. A churchgrows when it is properly fed.

There then follow some practical instructions for handling disputesand accusations against any elders, the treatment of those who arepersistent in their sinning, and advice about not being too hastyin the laying on of hands. This could be either for those who felta call to service and ministry, or for those returning to thechurch as repentant backsliders. Timothy has already been remindedthat the Church is God's family - those who have been called andwho have made their response. Membership should not therefore betaken lightly.

However, the life of an elder should not just consist ofadministration and striving to be an example for others. There mustbe time to unwind and de-stress so that the body remains healthy.So Timothy is told to not to feel too guilty about letting his hairdown now and then, and drinking the occasional glass of wine forthe sake of his health!

To Ponder

Timothy is told that "the labourer deserves to bepaid" (verse 18). As you look at the society in which you live, howdoes that statement resonate with what you see in the world?

The rules that were laid down for the earlyChurch seems so much simpler than the increasingly large volumeswhich we have today. How important is it to have a clear frameworkof rules within the Church? Can this become too legalistic anddetract from the primary function of the Church which is to preachthe word to all people?

How important is it to allow your minister tohave a proper day off in the week?

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