Saturday, March 24, 2018

Timothy, The Helpers Are to Held A High Standard (1 Timothy 3:8)


"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere,
not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain
"
(1 Timothy 3:8, NIV)

Deacon means "one who serves." I like to call deacons as "helpers" for the overseer, the same way the Holy Spirit is the Helper (John 14:26, not lower in position and power but different office) for the Lord Jesus Christ. The helpers was first created in Acts 6 when the apostles asked for seven men "who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" to be selected to provide for "daily distribution of food" to the widows in order that the apostles would give their "attention to prayer and the ministry of the word" (read Acts 6:1-7). This is the right kind of church organization! The bishop or elder or the leader is to focus primarily on the study, preaching and teaching of the Word of God and prayer. Others are to be selected to care and help for mundane (but also important) matters that must be done.

The deacons or helpers are those who would serve in the work of the church and so these standards apply to all of them (1 Timothy 3:8-12). First, the helpers "are to be men worthy of respect" and "sincere" or as The Message puts it more plainly, they are to be "serious, not deceitful." This does not mean a false religiosity and poker-faced, but rather men who are served in all seriousness. Far from serving out of obligations, they ought to be joyful and sincere. And since their responsibilities require them to minister to those in need and therefore often involved in visitation among church members, it is important that they keep their character (not gossipers or rumor-mongers) and attitude (serving rather than bossing) in check. In this way, they are "worthy of respect"!

Like the leader, the helpers must also "not indulging in much wine." Although the wine was used as a common drink by the people in the Bible times, this historical truth cannot be used as justification for drinking today. A drunkard church helper is always bringing a bad image for the God that he is serving. In my culture, the Iban-culture, alcohol is the single greatest problem! Although there is no explicit prohibition of drinking wine or some sort of alcoholic drinks in the Bible, it did warn us about drunkenness and "indulging in much wine." To this issue, Paul elsewhere warned believers: "It is better NOT to eat meat [offer to idols] or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall" (Romans 14:21). Unbelievers expect Christians to show good examples.

One of the differences between the leader and the helpers is that the leader gets his financial need mostly from those he serves, the church (see Galatians 6:6) but the helpers are on their own. The helpers (all!) are subject to the same temptation concerning money as the leader – perhaps even more since they will be in the business world from day to day. Thus, the helpers are commanded to "not pursuing dishonest gain." The helpers also must be above reproach in money matters.

Dear helper, are you up to the standards above?
If yes, well done, good and faithful servant!
If not, ask God to show you in which area you should repent of.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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