I love reading Paul’s letters to Timothy. What a wealth of information for leadership that Paul has shared with his young ministry worker and the world. In 1 Timothy 3, he reviews the qualifications of overseers. He poses an important question—“if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”
Leadership must start at the home. God appreciates order. He created order from the chaos. As we read each book of the Bible, we see order. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in all of the small details in the Bible—instead appreciate the small details, understanding that God cares so much even for the smallest of details. Everything is meant to fit perfectly. Everything is perfectly designed. It’s something we cannot fathom. The world is filled with balance and rhythm my friends.
A good leader manages family well. The man is a strong godly leader of his family. A godly man loves and supports his wife. A godly woman submits to her husband and supports her husband as the leader of the family. They raise their children in the disciple and teaching of the Lord. A godly couple lives life with a balance of grace and truth. A godly person is respected. Because a godly man manages his family well, his life is balanced so he is able to thereby serve God’s church. This is the same for a woman’s ministry role. If he or she does not manage the family well in their God given role, the chaos at home will follow to the church. This is a great truth spoken by Paul, a truth that speaks volumes. Ministry always starts at home. Any ministry outside the home is an overflow. Focus first in your home, and the overflow will follow.
“He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Timothy 3:4-5 [NLT]
We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.
When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.
This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]
After the battle was won, the Israelites asked Gideon to be their ruler. In Judges 8, they had already moved from the position of the Lord bringing the victory to turning away from the Lord. They wanted Gideon to be their ruler. Gideon quickly told them that the Lord was their ruler.
Even though the victory was clearly given by the Lord, they were quick to take their eyes off of Him. They were quick to attribute the victory to Gideon and his leadership. In the same way, we often are quick to attribute our accomplishments to others. We easily agree to support someone’s decisions, advice, and opinions and forget about our true Ruler, our Lord and Savior.
We have bosses. We have politicians. We have a lot of people in leadership positions in different areas of our lives. But there should never be a moment when anyone is put before God. God is first always.
“Then the Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.’ But Gideon replied, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you! ‘” – Judges 8:22-23 [NLT]