1 Timothy 3: 8-13
8 Deacons also must be worthy of respect. They must be honest and true. They must not drink too much wine. They must not try to get money by cheating people. 9 They must hold on to the deep truths of the faith. Even their own minds tell them to do that. 10 First they must be tested. Then let them serve as deacons if there is nothing against them. 11 In the same way, their wives must be worthy of respect. They must not say things that harm others. In anything they do, they must not go too far. They must be worthy of trust in everything. 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife. He must manage his children and family well. 13 Those who have served well earn the full respect of others. They also become more sure of their faith in Christ Jesus.
When I read this passage I found myself needing to know what ‘elders’ (pastor, overseer, bishop) and ‘deacons’ meant. It doesn’t define their roles here. I take it that the deacons serve under the pastor, taking different responsibilities as in Acts 6 2-4. But, that question resolved, I realise that it is not the relevant thing at all. God is much more concerned about a leader’s character.
Those who aspire to be church leaders should read the list of qualifications here. Those who select leaders are to test them against this list. This sounds really serious doesn’t it. God guards His flock jealously, and those He places in leadership in the church must be ‘blameless’ (v. 11). Is there a double standard here? Do deacons have to have more integrity than the rest of us? I believe we should all aspire to be like this, however leaders have a greater responsibility because they are an example to us. They also reflect the integrity of the gospel to those outside the church. They will be judged according to their personal character. The job and the character cannot be separated.
Reverent, truthful, sober, not materialistic, true to the gospel, a faithful spouse and respected parent, even-tempered, not slanderous. God will reward those like this, who serve him well, with good standing and boldness in the faith (v.13).
Heavenly Father and mentor of all leaders please keep these standards in my mind as I serve you in the church and community. Please make me into one who may be described in this way; blameless in your sight. Amen
Written by Dimity Milne