DAILY WORD 10/29/20
1. Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.
2. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
1 Timothy 5:1–2 NLT
Today’s Passage begins Chapter 5 of the Book of 1 Timothy and we see Paul transitioning from concern over Timothy’s soul, directly back to the Decorum of Leadership. He displays to his young protégé that he indeed cares for him as an individual and therefore cares about the state of his soul but in the very next Verse, he gets right back on message and speaks once again to the Traits and Standards of Christian Leadership.
This time, however, he lends his focus to the Interpersonal Relationships that Timothy will encounter within the Church. Paul’s lessons are not just covering Doctrine or Personal Responsibility, both of which are essential Building Blocks of Good Christian Leadership. He is making sure that Timothy knows how to interact with those that he will be Leading as well.
As we talked about before in Chapter 3, as a Leader in the Church or outside of it, there will inevitably come times when you will be at odds with those you are tasked with Guiding. In those times, if you are to be a successful Leader, there are ways to communicate your message that are effective and ways that will impair the ability to receive it.
Paul wants Timothy to be as prepared as he can possibly be as he takes the reigns of Ministry in Ephesus. As such, he is giving him the proper way to communicate with all portions of his congregation. Because we all know that you can have the Greatest Message Ever Given but if you can’t effectively deliver it, it will be of no use to those who you are sent to bring it to.
Paul is the “Elder Statesman” of this New Christian Faith and he would have encountered many different personalities in his Ministry, not all of which would have been happy to see him come to them or would have been open to his lessons. We cannot forget that Paul was first known as Saul and was a persecutor of many of these very same saints.
In order to be an effective Leader, he would have had to develop a gentle and personable style with which to deliver the Message of the Gospel, while at the same time being firm and decisive when it came time to discipline wayward saints. Overcoming his past would have been a real challenge for him and the lessons he would have learned as he did so would have been invaluable to any young Church Leader. If Paul could do it, anyone could!
These are the lessons he is teaching Timothy in this passage, lessons no doubt learned from hard-won personal experience. He begins with how to approach the Elders of the Church. These would, for Timothy, have been individuals who would be respected in the community and may well have been Leaders in the Church before the younger man arrived.
If he came with the Message that Paul sent him with and was to have delivered it harshly, he may well have been rejected immediately along with his Message. In order to get the support that he would have needed to enact the changes that Paul knew needed to be implemented, Timothy would have needed to be tactful, and as Paul put it, “Rebuke not an Elder,”.
Paul said that he should instead, “entreat him as a father;” which would have displayed the level of respect that would garner him acceptance, even while delivering the harshest of admonitions. This would have been the only way for him to do the Work he had been sent to do and the only way for us to do God’s Work today as well. However, Paul knew that it was not just the Elders that should be treated with respect but all of the members of the Church.
He went on to tell Timothy to treat the younger men as brothers. This would have given those who may have been faltering in their confidence as Christians a boost as they began to see themselves not as inadequate youngsters but as fellow Leaders in the Faith. Everyone needs a little boost every now and then.
Paul also made sure not to leave out Timothy’s interactions with the women of the Church. Much like the elders, he told him to treat the elder women like he would his mother and the younger women as sisters. He added that the young women should be regarded “with all purity”. This would have kept him above suspicion when it came to his honor and integrity, which as a Leader of the Church, would have been of utmost importance.
Paul is guaranteeing that Timothy is completely prepared to be a Leader and is not just sending him out and leaving him untrained. He knows how important every single soul is both to the Kingdom of Heaven and to the survival of Christianity in the harsh environment of its inception.
Only well-formed and well-informed Leaders would have what it took to Guide Christianity to where it is today. We all owe God some Major Praise for starting us off with such amazing Leaders or we may never have even heard of Christ. It was His Foresight that has brought us to where we are today because as every successful organization has discovered; it’s all about the Leadership!
Have a Thought-Provoking Thursday and Stay Safe out there!