#DailyDevotion Do You Desire A Noble Task?
1Tim. 3 This is a statement we can trust: If anyone sets his heart on being a spiritual overseer, he wants to do a noble work. 2Now, a spiritual overseer must be blameless, the husband of one wife, not drinking too much wine, a man of good judgment and fine behavior, kind to guests, able to teach, 4no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not one who loves money. He should manage his own household well and have his children obey him as he treats them very seriously. 5If anyone doesn’t know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? 6He should not be a new convert, or he may become proud and so be condemned with the devil. 7“The people outside the church must speak well of him, or he may fall into disgrace and the devil’s snare.
How the Church was organized and what they called different men who did different things in the ministry was pretty fluid in the early Church. Here in Timothy and Titus we get overseers/presbyters and deacons. In Ephesians we have a list which includes apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers. After the first hundred years or so we ended up with bishops, priests, deacons and subdeacons. What we see as divinely ordained by Christ is one holy apostolic ministry which the church divides up into other categories to split up the work.
Here in Timothy Paul describes the character of the man that is to be the spiritual overseer or presbyter. He may have been the over all head of many churches in an area or just the main or head pastor of a congregation. What we do know is that if anyone sets his heart on being one, he wants to do a noble work. It used to be a respected profession in the past. It is unfortunate due to men who have abused the office and/or did not actually meet the qualifications for office that it is no longer the respected office it used to be. Never the less, if one aspires to the office of the holy ministry he is to be blameless. “Whoa!” you many say, “Who can be blameless?” Well no one is without sin. Yet if we look as what follows this you will find what Paul means by this. It doesn’t stand alone but rather is describe as by what follows.
So he is to be the husband of but one wife. That is to say, he is to be a male (not just self-identifies as a male) who doesn’t have more than one wife. Now the Church has taken this in a number of ways over the centuries and this can be interpreted in several ways but certainly the man should not have more than one wife right now. It was understood early that you got to marry once and that was it. Some places allowed a widower to remarry. Those who got divorced while in the ministry were either not allowed to continue in the ministry or were not allowed to remarry. Because there really is no “no-fault” divorce, some Churches allow a divorced man to remarry if he was not the cause of the divorce.
The other qualifications don’t need much explanation. But if you are going to be able to run the Church of God, then you need to be able to run your own household well. As Jesus said, he who is faithful in little is faithful in much. Not being a new convert makes sense for you have to know the truth thoroughly and be humbled by it. I’ve seen and been a new convert as we do get kind of puffy at times when people don’t have our enthusiasm and we don’t know how to apply the scriptures properly yet. Finally, outsiders must speak well of him. They should see the listed characteristics in his daily life and speak well of him, even if they don’t like him because of his faith and teachings. If they don’t the devil’s snare and disgrace is likely to follow because he is not ‘blameless.’
With all this we should thank our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us such gifts from heaven—men who will enter his ministry, proclaim the gospel of forgiveness, administer his gifts and intercede for us in him.
O Lord Jesus Christ, when you ascended on high you gave gifts to men, in particular those who would enter your ministry. Continually inspire workers for the harvest to enter that labor that we may continually edified and built up in your word and work. In your name we pray. Amen.