1 Timothy 5:17-22
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favouritism. 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
It seems people are more critical of leaders these days. A real supercritical culture has emerged, fed by the 24-hour news cycle. Mistakes are replayed over and over, every word is scrutinised. Being a leader is not easy. They can be a target for those whose agenda is to undermine.
Paul’s warnings to Timothy in these few verses speak against this culture of criticism, a culture which dishonours leaders of the body of Christ, the church. He calls Timothy to ensure the elders are honoured, but also reminds that they are accountable.
When I think of leaders of our body of Christ, I do not limit this to our pastors. I think also of the Board, the Vision Team and Connect Group leaders. God has reminded me that how I treat and respect our elders honours Him who has placed these elders amongst us and over us. Paul also recognises the leaders are not superhuman and need our support and to be accountable to us. One vital part I can do is to pray for our leaders.
Paul is at pains to make these points to Timothy because he knows a time of persecution of the church is upon them. The body of Christ will need to be a strong community to survive the persecution which was coming. This means uniting behind the elders.
The responsibility lies with me and that is shown by my honouring the leaders of the church and also by avoiding gossip and grumbling when I don’t agree.
Dear Lord Jesus, I pray for our pastors, Board, Vision Team and Group leaders. Bless and protect them. Test their motivations and draw them to you. Amen
Written by Claire Moore