11. In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.
1 Timothy 3:11 NLT
Today’s passage aligns with Verses 4 and 5 of this Chapter, which we covered earlier, concerning a Pastor’s management of his household and family. We are indeed talking about Deacons in these last few Verses but we have established that the Standards and Traits that apply to one also apply to the other as well.
Here’s the deal; as stated in Verse 4 and 5, if a person cannot manage their own affairs with any effectiveness how can they ever be trusted to manage the affairs of the Church with any more efficiency? The obvious answer is that they cannot.
Therefore, Paul mentions the Traits required for the wife of a Deacon in this passage. It is not enough for the Deacon himself to be of Good Report and of Sound Judgment, in addition, his wife must be Respected as well. The KJV echoes Verse 8 using once again the term “Grave”, that is; Serious and Thoughtful as the first Trait that should be displayed.
Frivolous behavior out of a Christian Leader is a sure sign of poor Leadership Qualities and those same qualities displayed by the families of said Leaders indicate a lack of leadership in the home. This leads us to the next Trait that Paul mentions.
He tells Timothy that the wives of Deacons must not be the type to Slander, or speak ill of those with in the Church (or outside of it for that matter.) Having grown up under a Pastor and in the Church for the entirety of my formative years, I have seen many things that could give an individual pause as it comes to dealing with the personalities and attitudes of individuals in the Church.
Those situations could easily lead the people involved to talk badly about those they see doing things that they do not agree with. That loose talk can quickly escalate into Slanderous Conversation and that can cause many other problems and issues within the Church body, especially when it comes from those that should be garnering respect and lifting up the saints, rather than dragging them down and deriding them.
It takes only a few misplaced words to cause a schism in the Church that may never be repaired. This is exactly why there are so many Verses in the Word that speak directly about the Power that resides within the Tongue. Words have Power that few people truly give them credit for and the damage they can do if one’s tongue is not “bridled” can be great.
Paul does not stop there, however, he goes on to mention another Trait that the wife of a Deacon should display. The KJV defines this Trait as Being Sober. Once again, we see Sobriety as an important aspect of Christian Leadership, even from the family of a Leader. As covered earlier, this can mean to steer clear of intoxicants which is always a good idea for Christians but the NLT gives another take on what Paul was talking about.
Self-control is the definition that is given in this version of the Text and when you think about it, this is an extremely important Trait for any Christian Leader to display. It is not just something to demonstrate in terms of alcohol either. Exhibiting Self-control in every aspect of one’s life is essential to Leading God’s people to their Ultimate Destination.
You can’t expect to act with no control over your actions and then think that people will follow you anywhere. This goes for those in your household as well. Which ties perfectly into the final Trait that Paul mentions in this Verse, which is to be Faithful in all things.
Self-control and Faithfulness in God’s eyes go hand in hand. If you have Self-control you will remain Faithful and in turn, if you are Faithful it displays the fact that you have Self-control. These are Traits that are essential for both Pastors and Deacons but they must also be exhibited by those within their families as well.
It is not enough to do good yourself as a Christian Leader, you must also ensure that your family adheres to the very same Standards that you are being held to. Now, as parents, this may be a difficult undertaking. Controlling strong-willed children can be a task all unto itself. However, if one is expected to Lead God’s people, they must first display the ability to keep their own affairs in order.
This is what Paul is trying to convey to Timothy and by proxy, to the Church Leaders at Ephesus. Even 2000 years later, the lessons he taught are still applicable to us. Leadership goes farther than just telling people what to do or guiding them toward the Proper Path.
You as a Leader, must also take that same path, otherwise how will those that follow know where to go? If they see you or those close to you deviate from the path you have laid forth, they are likely to follow where you are going, not where you tell them to go. This is why Leadership and the Standards exhibited by Leaders are so important. The fates of all those on the Path are at stake.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday and Stay Safe out there!