When I saw which chapter of 1 Timothy was today’s reading, I had to smile, because it’s a passage of Scripture that I’ve read so many times before. While the heading of the chapter is “Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons,” a mentor of mine a few years ago encouraged me to read 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and a similar passage, Titus 1:5-9, and consider the same qualifications Paul lists for these church leaders when praying and waiting for my future husband. At first, it seemed like a weird suggestion to me, but once I dug deeper into the heart of what God was saying in these passages, I realized that my mentor was right, and the man I wanted to end up with someday should have these sorts of characteristics as the leader of our marriage and of our future family. In 1 Timothy 3, we see that Paul has a few main characteristics that he points out as being of particular importance in the character of a leader. 1 Timothy 3: 2-10 says,

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his 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, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

Verse 11 shares a little about Paul’s expectations for women:

11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

And lastly, Paul finishes with a few more words about men as leaders in the church:

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

While I’m not looking for a husband anymore, my mentor’s advice was helpful… and I’m blessed to say that God brought someone into my life who lives out each of the characteristics that Paul says we should look for in leaders and that tmy mentor said I should wait for in a husband. 🙂 But regardless, I think we can all learn from 1 Timothy 3, because we ALL have influence somewhere in our lives. Whether we’re involved with a family, a church, a business, a small group, or even a friendship, we ARE leaders and we CAN lead where we are. Furthermore, we can become better leaders by developing these godly characteristics within ourselves and asking God to grow us in these areas. Today, my prayer is that God will help me grow where I am currently weak so that I can be a better leader in the areas over which I have influence… no matter how big or how small.