DAY 9 - Read Daily09-11-2019 | Matthew Campbell | YOUTH
Day 9 - Pray for your elders
6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Questions for application:
- As you read these qualifications of elders, what most surprises you? How do they compare to the other qualifications we read of in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
- What pressures / discouragements do you think elders might regularly face?
- In what practical ways can you ‘Submit to, pray for and walk with’ your elders this week?
Devotion Transcript (Watch on Baptist Youth Youtube Channel)
I wonder if I was to ask you, ‘what makes a great leader,’ what would you say? If you’re anything like me, you probably think of someone who is vocal, they’ve got a dynamic personality, strategic in their thinking, well liked and efficient at carrying out tasks. Perhaps your mind is drawn to a particular person who’s leadership you have been under - your school hockey captain, maybe? Or your University rugby captain? Perhaps a headmaster comes to mind? Well, in Titus 1:6-9, Paul shares with us what a good leader in the church looks like and you might be surprised to discover the things that he places as priority.
Remember that, in yesterdays devotion, Emily showed us the 2 reasons why Titus was left in Crete in v5. Firstly, to bring back order to the churches on the island, but secondly to ‘appoint elders in every town there.’ So it’s now, after Paul telling Titus to appoint elders, that he now shows Titus what type of people these elders are to be.
What is perhaps most surprising in Paul’s description of what elders are to be like is that none of my pre-conceived ideas of what a good leader should be actually appear. Nowhere does Paul say these men ought to have dynamic personalities or have a PHD in Theology. Rather, Paul is more keen to establish the importance of godly character in Christian leadership. For Paul, it’s character first, competence second.
In this list of characteristics given to us, you could break them down into 3 areas where Paul says elders ought to be of godly character - their home, their heart and their head.
Firstly elders ought to be of godly character in their home:
6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
Paul says elders ought to be above reproach - in other words, above board in their actions - so that no deliberate pattern of seriously sinful behaviour can be wavered against them. Secondly they are to be the husband of one wife. He shouldn’t be an adulterer or someone who gets around with multiple woman, whether he’s single or married. It more literally reads, a one woman man.
The final clause in v6 is a little more difficult. Do an elder’s children have to be believers for him to be qualified for that position? Although it may appear that way at first reading, that’s not exactly what Paul is saying. The word children implies ‘young children.’ When a child is very small, before they’ve formulated their own outlook on life, they tend to believe what their parents believe. When they’re older, of course, they may drift from that. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the parents are to blame for the child’s pursuit of sinful living - we know that Salvation is a personal action between the individual and God - parents can only influence at best. So the qualification for eldership here speaks more of faith being modelled at home and discipline, where necessary, being offered to avoid a wild and disobedient environment.
Secondly, elders are to be of godly character in their hearts:
7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
It becomes very evident here that Paul’s chief desire for an elder isn’t someone with skilled hands but rather a surrendered heart. One that seeks to obey Christ in every aspect of life. Because It doesn’t matter how skilful an individual may be, if they have the wrong motivation, those skills can be used for destructive purposes.
And the final qualification for elders is found in their head:
9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Elder’s are to be people who care about faithful doctrine. They have the responsibility to ensure that the word of God and the gospel of God is faithfully taught and not distorted among God’s people. Why? Well as Paul said to Timothy, false teaching is like a cancer - it erodes and destroys everything it gets its hands on.
It’s important as we read these qualifications for eldership that we note that elders are not called to be ‘perfect’ people. Jesus is the only perfect person ever to have lived. Elders are sinners like you and I. However, as this passage makes clear, elders are to be those who lead the way in pursuing a Christ-like character among God’s people. It’s a high calling, it’s a difficult calling and unfortunately, quite often, it can be a discouraging and lonely calling.
This week, how can you be an encouragement to your elders? Let me give you 3 very brief suggestions: Firstly, Submit to them. God appointed elders for the Spiritual oversight of the church. The sinful human side of us tends to resist such a submission. But God is the one who ordained this position. Secondly, Pray for them. Elders, like all of us, are in a spiritual battle. Satan knows he can do a lot of damage by getting at an elder - they need your prayers. Thirdly, Walk with them. They are your brothers in Christ. They are susceptible to all the temptations and discouragements that you and I face every day. Encourage them. Thank them for what they do. Send them a text, write them a note. Walk with them on your collective journey of following Jesus.