Thursday 13 February, 2014

1 Timothy 5:17-22

17 The elders who do the church’s work well are worth twice as much honor. That is true in a special way of elders who preach and teach. 18 Scripture says, “Do not stop the ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw.” (Deuteronomy 25:4) Scripture also says, “Workers are worthy of their pay.” (Luke 10:7) 19 Don’t believe a charge against an elder unless two or three witnesses bring it. 20 Elders who sin should be corrected in front of the other believers. That will be a warning to the others. 21 I command you to follow those directions. I command you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels. Treat everyone the same. Don’t favor one person over another. 22 Don’t be too quick to place your hands on others to set them apart to serve God. Don’t take part in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

I love that God gives us instructions. He doesn’t just tell us what to do – He tells us how He wants us to do it. How well He knows us! So well we are reminded of the manner in which we are to undertake these instructions. God is the God of details. We don’t have to figure out too much – being obedient in both our actions and our attitude is what is required. I’m not sure why I make it more complicated than this so often.

For me these verses are a reminder of the manner in which my obedience should be undertaken. Verse 26 is so strongly stated regarding not taking sides or showing favouritism. When I do what God is asking me – is it completely unbiased? Am I serving and loving unconditionally or am I seeking to attend to my agenda? These are good questions to ask myself regularly about my world and my relationships.

Lord help me still myself to hear your replay when I ask and then give me courage to hear what you say and allow you to reshape my thinking and my acting. Thank you for promising to do this when I ask.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    This passage is part of a much longer list of ‘highly practical’ instructions Paul gives to Timothy for the running of a Church. This wisdom transcend cultural context and is still relevant today.
    In v21 Paul instruct to equally apply these rules to all people. This is significant because in a culture that lived by the ‘class system’ and accepted slavery as the ‘norm’, Paul is promoting ‘equality’. It may be obvious to us, but was most likely a revolutionary in their context and reveal the heart of God towards His people.
    This leads me to wonder how often I favour some people over others. I suspect I engage in favoritism far more than I realise and unless I consciously monitor my interactions I will never know. The easiest way to challenge this is to pick a person you would not normally bother with and spend some time with them.
    Lord, I ask you to make me aware of those who I do not favour and help me to bless their lives in some way! Amen

  2. logos215 says:

    Much of the Old testament and some of the New testament is veiled in symbolism and knowing the meaning of the symbols greatly enhances your understanding of the Bible.
    There are few rare instances in the Bible where you are actually told the meaning of the symbols.
    In this case Paul indicates that ‘Ox’ can be symbolically used to mean “elder, pastors, preachers and teachers”. This is because these people do much of the work in the Kingdom of God. If you go back over the Old testament references to ‘Oxen’ you will find meaning holds true.

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