Good morning my friends and welcome to Monday.I trust you had an excellent celebration yesterday as you gathered with your brothers and sisters to worship and learn more about our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a grand adventure isn't it? I pray the leaders in your church are well. They have a daunting task as they grow in the Lord at the same time as having responsibility for over seeing other people's growth. Leadership in the Church is not easy and not everyone is called to it.
Paul was very particular in his instructions to Timothy about what character of people should be accepted as leaders. He wrote:
Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but 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. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (1 Timothy 3:2-4)
He goes on with a bit more and then he starts in with a similar list for the deacons. We could probably argue over the title "overseer" but since it is my blog and to make matters less complicated we are going to consider the overseer as referring to the pastor. Church was much different in the early days than it is now so sometimes the words are hard to fit into today's situation. Regardless, Paul was referring to the people who had responsibility for people and ministries. The deacons had to meet the same criteria because they too had leadership responsibilities in the Church.
Character has always been an important thing for God and when a person comes to accept Jesus we see the evidence of it by their changed character. Character does not change with responsibility but only through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. We read of great evangelists of the past who went from the streets to the pulpit and were used greatly by the Lord to win souls to the Kingdom but they were like two different people. They were of the lowest character on the streets but when they accepted Jesus everything changed. Sometimes we allow people of low character to take leadership in the Church thinking that they will change with responsibility. Then we are completely shocked when they fall or fail. Shame on us for allowing them to be put in such a position.
Character is who we are. It begins to be formed in us when we are young and once formed it is near impossible to change. The only force that can change who we are is the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes he doesn't change our character but channels it and puts it to greater use. I have made the very unscientific observation that most pastors have an addictive nature about them. Most of them would make a good alcoholic or drug abuser. I believe they have this nature because of the need to be completely addicted to Jesus in order to serve in the responsibility of a pastor. There are probably just as many cases contrary to this but it is what I have observed.
Thankfully we have many excellent examples of great leadership in the Church today. I am not about to start naming names but we can all think of a few, and they are not all young and vibrant. There are excellent leaders in the limelight and there are excellent leaders serving every day without the recognition of thousands of believers. These are valiant people who get up every morning simply with the desire and determination to give their best to the Lord and his people. We need the leaders in the limelight but we really need those pastors and elders who are serving without thank you's and acknowledgments. For every "Paul" there are hundreds of "Timothy's"; people of excellent character, serving the Lord with great diligence.
We need to be thankful of the excellent leaders God has given to us. They are all different, some dynamic and others more subtle in their ways. Whatever their manner, we can be thankful for their character and who they are in Jesus. We can be thankful for their love, dedication and faithfulness to the task that has been given to them. We can be thankful and pray for them because their task is not easy as they tend to their own relationship with Jesus while encouraging others to do the same. Take the time and pray for the leaders in your congregation today. The stronger they are the stronger you are.