TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Titus 1:1-9
Paul wrote to two different preachers about elders. He gave Timothy and Titus a list of qualifications for a man to be considered as an elder. Paul begins his instructions to Timothy by sharing a trustworthy saying: “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” We need to be encouraging our young men to desire to serve the church as elders! We need preachers and youth ministers to teach and preach the virtues of godly elders. We need parents who will encourage their sons from an early age to aspire to be elders in the church. Whatever occupation a young man chooses, he can also serve the church as a deacon and an elder. We need more men to desire this noble task!
As Paul goes on to tell Titus and Timothy how look for qualified men to serve as elders, the first qualification he gives is that they must be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). In many ways this one quality is an umbrella that covers all the other things he lists. To be above reproach does not mean an elder is perfect or sinless. It is a lifestyle of openness and transparency that reveals genuine faith. It is the quality of having a Christian character.
Our character shows up in every area of our life, but especially when we are outside the community of faith. When we are with friends who don’t share our values, our character is on display. When we are angry, our character is on display. If our faith changes our lives in every situation, then our character will be consistent. The Character Counts! education program for school children emphasizes six pillars of character that all children (and adults!) should learn. Character is made up of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.¹ What Paul is telling the church in his letters to Timothy and Titus is that character counts. It counts in leadership and it matters in everyone’s life of faith.
Today I will…take a look at my own character and examine how my faith can impact my life in the tough times. If you are a young man, consider setting a goal now to become an elder in the Lord’s church. Look for some other young men you can encourage to consider this noble task.