DAILY WORD 10/6/20
4. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.
5. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?
1 Timothy 3:4–5 NLT
Today’s passage continues Paul’s Set of Standards and Traits that constitute what a Christian Leader should embody. This one is of particular interest to me given my background and the fact that Paul took the time to address this one factor in two successive Verses, and the fact that all of the others were instances of multiple Traits thrown into one Verse is rather telling as well.
For those of you that don’t know, I’m a preacher’s kid. A third-generation Apostolic Pentecostal preacher’s kid at that. Both my father and grandfather on my father’s side were Apostolic pastors and my grandfather on my mother’s side was as well. I come from a long and distinguished line of Christian Leaders. This pedigree gives me a unique insight into the lives and duties of Pastors seeing as how I witnessed their lives from the inside.
As a matter of fact, the reason for my commentary on this Book stems from a request from my father to look into taking over his church. Having seen all of the sides of Leadership from such a close vantage I know that for one not to be Called to the Office and to take on the responsibility anyway is a dangerous and foolish undertaking. However, given the request and the situations surrounding it, I am studying this Book and the two subsequent to see if any of the insights and lessons contained within give me a new perspective on Christian Leadership that may lead me toward that Office.
Today’s passage hits home for me in several ways given that I am one of the children that Paul is referring to and the difficulties my parents had, keeping me in check as I came of age, were challenging to say the least. A Pastor must be able to rule his own house well, having his children in subjection with all gravity, as the King James Version characterizes it. For my father, that was a tall order.
I didn’t defy their rules because I wanted to hurt them or disrespected their efforts. I was simply a free spirit and often wanted to go my own way even if I had no idea what I was doing or if that path would end up taking me to places I really didn’t want to go. Keeping me “in subjection” was difficult at best and near impossible at worst.
A headstrong child is often difficult to control and can cause his parents years of effort, strain, and exertion not to mention frustration and exasperation. Mine did all they knew to do and still had issues figuring out just how I should be handled. I didn’t think about how I was causing my father, the Pastor, issues with his congregation, and with his soul.
I was thinking about myself. It was about what I wanted and no one else really factored into the equation. I hadn’t conceptualized Verse 5 as far as how my behavior affected my father’s office. Paul says, “For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” This wasn’t even on my radar, I didn’t care, or at least, I wasn’t thinking about it like that but I can guarantee you that he was.
As a Pastor, my father had to have been at his wit's end trying to figure out exactly how to control, manage, and love his wayward son while still executing his duties as a Pastor, a father, and a businessman. I didn’t make that easy on him and I have seen this pattern repeated in many similar situations and households across the country and I’m sure across the world.
Paul understood the difficulties of child-rearing despite the fact that he had no children of his own. He saw the issues that a child such as myself could pose for a Christian Leader. The question he posed is a valid one, however, the answer to that particular query is not half as easy to ascertain. How do you control an uncontrollable child?
The validity of this question for a pastor comes into play when you consider that there may well end up being similar personalities manifested in the Church. If a Pastor thinks that leading his or her congregation is going to be smooth sailing they are in for a rude awakening. Just like in our natural families, the family of God is inevitably going to have some “black sheep”.
But like those difficult to deal with sons or daughters, the Pastor cannot simply cast out those difficult saints. There is good in every wayward child, just like there is good in every difficult saint of God. The Lord sent sinners to the Church to be transformed. He didn’t send fully formed and perfected deacons and board members. There is often a good bit of work that has to be put into a new Christian before they can bear fruit.
My father never gave up on me though I am quite sure that there were times that it would have been much easier to do so. He never stopped praying and trying to reach me and eventually, things turned around. I had my years of struggle getting there but his hard work, tears, and discipline finally paid off.
That is the very same attitude, action, and effort that must be put into the congregation of any church. A pastor is effectively the surrogate spiritual father of his parishioners. He must show a level of love, understanding, and nurturing toward them that resembles that of a natural father or risk losing a precious soul.
This is not always going to be easy just like it wasn’t easy with me but like with me, all of the work and effort will pay off in the end. That difficult saint that took so much time and determination to nurture could turn out to be the next pastor or serve in some other capacity in God’s army that would never be realized if the pastor had just sent them packing and never took the time to love them like a child.
We as Christian Leaders often forget that we too began like a lot of them did, broken and undone. We all took some fixing to get to where we are in Christ. If we had been given up on where would we be? The same goes for the difficult saints that we will inevitably encounter. Christian Leaders must indeed maintain control over their churches but in doing so, they must never forget that some saints are going to take a little more work than others.
Just a thought for all the aspiring pastors out there, the wayward saints, and the parents dealing with kids like me. It may not be an easy road but in the end, it’s worth the effort. Not every path is a smooth one. Some require some hard trekking before things even out. But all paths can lead to Heaven if the proper amount of care is applied. It worked for me and it will work for you too. By the way, thanks for never giving up on me, Pop! I love you.
Have a Terrific Tuesday and Stay Safe out there!