Respect

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. 1 Timothy 6:1-2

The closest relational analogy we have of a master/slave relationship is that of employer/employee. As employees we should make our employers shine, so to speak, whether or not they are believers. If they are believers, we will want to work harder foo their benefit.

The flip side, of course, is that of the employers. You want to create an environment so your employees want to come to work each day. I recall a job I had while in Bible school. Many students were recruited to work in a factory-type, assembly line setting for a company owned by Christians. Midway through the day, the supervisor said, “I don’t mind you talking, but don’t slow down your pace because of it.” Up to that point, we had enjoyed the work. Needless to say, she had a hard time recruiting next time that type of work became available. It was a cold and demotivating thing to say to workers who were hustling to get the work done.

How are you treating your boss?

How are you treating your workers?

If it’s anything but with the utmost respect, then it’s time to revisit attitudes.

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Nothing Hidden

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. 1 Timothy 5:24-25

Paul re-emphasized the idea that nothing is ever hidden in God’s sight: sin, actions, words, thoughts. It brings great comfort and concern. On the one hand, He sees everything. On the other, He sees everything!

So, many of you are out there trudging through your day, doing what you always do with your family and friends. You get snubbed by some of your friends for your beliefs or not doing things on Sundays. It seems the world is against you at every turn. The culture is quickly sliding down a greased pole into depravity and immorality. But you keep pressing on. Your deeds and words are seen and heard. You’re doing exactly waht you’re supposed to be doing. The Christin life is not easy, but it is doable with the help of the Holy Spirit each step of the way.

Recall that contemporary song we sing in our churches:

Every step I take in you, you are my way Jesus
Every breath I breathe in you.

So, allow me to encourage you to just keep doing what you’re doing. Day by day. Hour by hour. Don’t be discouraged or disheartened. Embrace the journey He has placed you on.

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Desalinization

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Timothy 5:23

It’s obvious that the water during that time was nowhere able to drink than it is now. Many diseases have been spread through the water ways. And yet it is the one basic element we all need to survive. The earth is 3/5ths covered with water, much of it is not potable in its present state.

Right now I know of two countries and one State that could benefit from desalinization plants, but they refuse to build the infrastructure. Those industrial-sized plants would purify sea water enough to drink, bathe, wash clothes, and any other activity requiring clean water. At this point in time, desalinzation is a known technique used to separate salt from water. Many countries are using it successfully.

The nation of Israel has offered to help Iran and South Africa in this endeavor since they were in the same situation 10 years ago. For whatever reason, the leaders in those countries refuse to allow Israel to help them. That’s truly sad. The looming water crisis is entirely unavoidable.

God is still moving in Iran and South Africa. Many believers (and non-believers) must suffer because of anti-Semitic hatred. The believers in those two countries are also persecuted for their faith. Pray first that God will open up the doors for evangelists to enter Iran. Its leaders have suppressed the people for far too long. Pray also for enterprising believers in South Africa to be bold in their faith as they are going through the mess of this year’s drought.

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Installing Elders and Pastors

22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 1 Timothy 5:22

In regards to the previous verses about selecting an elder, Paul warned the decision makers to be careful who you select because it affects the entire congregation.

A number of years ago I heard about a pastor who was sleeping with his secretary, his son was sleeping with his girlfriend, and his wife had her own dalliances on the side. The elders in the church knew about some of it and did nothing. An entire generation was affected by those sins, particularly those of the pastor and the elders. People saw the hypocrisy and didn’t want any part of it. I know of two who no longer go to church as a direct result of that highly dysfunctional church leadership. I’m almost positive there are many other congregation members who were affected. Of course, those two made a choice not to return to church, but they were heavily influenced by unresponsive leadership.

Perhaps the example is extreme; maybe not. The point is the elders were very hasty in selecting this pastor, mainly because he was the son of the previous pastor. They didn’t do their due diligence, nor did they root out sin when they found it. I think it’s a dangerous place for church leadership to be in.

Again, pray for your church leadership. They need discernment and good judgment when they make decisions.

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Responsibilities and Consequences

19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. 1 Timothy 5:19-21

The responsibilities and charges of an elder or a pastor are great, but so are the consequences of flagrant sin. There’s a reason why Paul told Timothy that accusations needed to be brought by at least two witnesses. Otherwise, any person who didn’t like he pastor could bring accusations against him without any corroboration. It’s not a small thing to make an accusation, nor should it be.

Again, pray for your pastor to be so far removed from any such accusations. Pray that he will safeguards in place to prevent himself from getting in compromising situations.

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The Burdens of a Pastor

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18

There’s no doubt about it: teaching and preaching pastors have difficult and burdensome jobs. The burden comes when the pastor feels the responsibility of feeding and caring for God’s flock. Pastors’ families are often right in the center of a fish bowl. Everyone sees and criticizes the activities of the family. Tomorrow we’ll address that issue.

There is a gross misconception about what a pastor does when he’s not preaching. I challenge you to shadow a pastor for a day or two. You’d be surprised at how many activities he’s involved with from visiting members to visiting the elderly to the various committees he sits on. Plus he needs to prepare teaching that will interest and feed his congregation every Sunday. The number of problems he hears during a given week would amaze you. But he can’t really talk about the problems to anyone outside of his wife (or outside counsel) so he has that burden as well.

Bathe your pastor in prayer this week. Let him know you are praying for him. I know he will appreciate it.

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Respoonsibility

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need. 1 Timothy 5:16

Paul’s instruction was for the younger women to help the widows they knew. They were probably widows within the church. Presumably the church would be helping those who were not affiliated with the church and were poor and in need of help. It’s a beautiful thing to see the church mobilize its members to meet the needs of a society, both within the church and outside.

Often, though, churches rely on ministries outside the church to help meet needs. Rescue missions, homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, food kitchens, and even nursing homes are much better suited to meet more specific needs. Many of them are founded by Christians and have a spiritual element to them. They too need volunteers and donations to keep them running.

Consider what you can do in the next month to volunteer at one of these organizations. Pray for them as their work is often discouraging and difficult.

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Women

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan. 1 Timothy 5:9-15

Obviously there was a distinction in that culture between young and elderly widows. The elderly were mature and responsible, but the younger widows had the potential to be more aggressive and ambitious at their new lot in life.

So, what can we take away for today? Both groups of women can derive a sense of purpose in their lives. Neither is wrong. Elderly men and women can certainly have an impact on their families and neighborhoods just by being themselves. The next generation can still use Godly advice and direction from those who have gone before. A quick email, card, or phone call to children, grandchildren, aunts or uncles can make a huge impact.

The younger generation can also have a huge impact on the next generation they are training through marriage and parenting.

The two groups of women certainly need each other.

Pray for both elderly and young women in your church. Their impact on society is larger than they realize.

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Providing for Relatives

3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:3-8

There’s a general principle here about helping those who can’t help themselves. In this instance, Paul referred to widows, but it could easily apply to orphans, foreigners in a strange land, and others in similar situations.

Verse 8 is certainly interesting in light of Western society’s nursing home mentality for the elderly. Gone are the days when families housed their elderly parents. The workers in retirement and nursing home facilities do what they can but they are paid for their work. After their 8- or 10-hour shift, they can leave.

Paul’s remarks are strong in verse 8 and probably should be heeded more than it is.

I don’t know where you are at in regards to your aging relatives, but it would be wise of us to do what you can while they are still around. That may mean financial and emotional sacrifice, but Paul’s words were very clear about this issue.

I cannot possibly know your current situation. Ask God to guide you in this regard.

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