What I’m Reading Today: 1 Timothy 3
This Sunday – as a part of our worship service – we’ll be installing the newly elected leaders to their positions for the upcoming 2010-11 program year. Consequently, I found the timing of today’s reading from 1 Timothy particularly helpful – for in today’s passage the author addresses the issue of what it takes to lead in the church.
Most of the qualities the author lists are the sort of thing you would expect from a church leader. We are told, for instance, that a leader should be well thought of, committed to his [or her] spouse, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. Nothing surprising there at all.
It wasn’t until I got to the last item on the list that I found a quality that might surprise some. That quality said a leader should be “attentive to his [or her] own children and have their respect”.
“What’s that got to do with leading a church?” some might wonder.
The author gives one reason for including the item in the list. The author frames the reason with a question: “For if one is unable to handle his [or her] own affairs, how can he [or she] take care of God’s church?”
Being a church leader who doesn’t have children of his own, I couldn’t help but wonder if that provision had anything to say to someone like me. So I sat with that question for a while - and an answer came to me.
The call for a leader to be attentive to his [or her] own children and earn their respect is a call to attain balance in one’s life. Let me tell you why balance is important.
Over the years, I’ve seen so many pastors lose themselves completely in their work. At times, I’ve even BEEN one of those pastors.
At first, losing yourself in the work seems like the only appropriate response to one’s call to ministry. After all, there are so many needs and so many who make demands upon you that losing yourself in service seems like the only adequate response.
Over time, however, you come to realize that you and your family are a part of those whom you are called to care for. If you neglect yourself and your family, you are neglecting a part of your call. In other words, a good leader must know how to balance care of others with care for yourself and your loved ones. Balance... balance… balance… That’s what good leadership is all about!
So how are you with the issue of balance in your life? Have you found ways of engaging the world that allows you to balance different aspects of your being, or is your life too heavily weighted in one direction (either toward others or yourself)?
Til next time…