Today’s reading is on 1 Timothy 1-3.
What are some of the forms that good leadership takes in your life? Who or what are some of the sources of information or examples of people in your life of strong leadership? Personally, I can think of my father & father-in-law acting as strong yet caring leaders & disciplinary figures for their families; the teachers who’ve put tremendous effort into developing their students into smart & hard workers; co-workers who’ve demonstrated compassion and a commitment to doing things right in high-pressure circumstances; pastors and elders at several churches we’ve attended who’ve offered sound advice on difficult topics and guided churches on biblical foundations through tricky real-life situations.
As a young man beginning to discover & grow into roles of leadership within my own life, I find myself emphasizing with Timothy, a young friend of the apostle Paul, tasked with growing the leadership of the Macedonian church in a difficult growing period, as described in the first chapter of this passage. With false teachers abound & the trappings of a self-centered culture leaking into the church, re-affirming the foundation of God’s people in the area on solid biblical ground must have seemed a tremendous task for someone in Timothy’s steps. Luckily, he had a friend and mentor in Paul to give advice from experience. Paul had a lot of good ideals in Chapter 3 for sound Christian leaders to follow that we can all take away from:
v.2&3 – An upstanding, kind, clear-headed individual whose outward behavior reflects the inward transformation found in Christ in us. (Galatians 2:20)
v.4&5 (11 & 12 as well)- Reflects both the stern & loving characteristics of God the Father through their own home life & familial situation, leading their loved ones to further reflect Christ.
v.6 – Firm in the knowledge of their identity in Christ and their role within His Kingdom.
v. 7 – A model of a transformed life visible to those outside the church (Matthew 5:48), so that those who don’t know God may witness His guidance through them.
v. 8 – A heart devoid of deceit, drunkenness, and personal gain, instead focused on service and helping. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
v. 9 & 10 – Sticks to their Christ-centric principles through hardship in a way that won’t earn rebukement, both from others & from within.
To be called to leadership in a formal sense is a tall task. But we each have our chances in our own ways to lead others to Christ, be it in our churches, or within our families and friend groups, or our students & small/study group members, or even to the outside society largely at odds with authority. But the importance of doing so can not be overstated: as Paul says in 3:16, in the action of our faith we confess “the mystery of Godliness:” in leading others to Christ, we help share a knowledge perviously unknown – but once known, becomes priceless. Although these rules were written specifying church leadership, these principles described help each of us reflect Christ through our own actions in our own specific opportunities to lead others to Christ. And I’m sure many of us can personally attest, thinking back to the Christian role models we’ve had throughout life (and our opportunities to be role models!), how the example you set can have a compounding effect in growing Christ’s kingdom even more.