King Uzziah's extraordinary fame and success resulted in pride and arrogance, so much so that the high priest, Azariah, and 80 other priests confronted him, resulting in the Lord’s striking the king with leprosy, a punishment that would follow him to his grave. In the backwash of all this, a young, very-concerned prophet named Isaiah turned to the Lord to gain understanding.
A successful industrialist once addressed a large body of executives. Speaking on the topic “Following the Leader,” he emphasized two difficulties leaders often struggle with. First, leaders struggle with getting people to think—to really think. Second, leaders struggle with getting people to establish and maintain priorities. We all wrestle with doing things in order of importance. One of the reasons for this struggle is that we often don’t know what deserves our immediate attention. For ministry our first priority is clear: prayer.
Instead, it will be a judgment to determine our rewards based on how well we have followed Christ. On that day, Jesus will examine and reveal our motives and the quality of our service.
Because churches are populated and pastored by imperfect people, we should stop every once in a while to administer an examination against the standard of God’s Word. As we close our study of 1 Timothy, let’s do that—let’s evaluate your ministry.
It can be difficult to follow God’s clear commands. However, obedience doesn’t have to involve a grin-and-bear-it kind of attitude, not if we keep in mind that obedience is always for our good and God’s glory.
If a pot of gold is found at the end of a rainbow, contentment is only found there if you bring it with you. And that’s the trick—to possess it, regardless of your possessions. To find contentment, let’s take into account some of Paul’s warnings on how we might miss contentment.
It’s true that the Bible is filled with thou shalts and thou shalt nots, which serve as a sort of preventative checkup. But it’s also a book of “hints” rather than commands, kind of like when our mothers tell us when us when we have a cold to get plenty of rest and to eat your chicken noodle soup.
Just when we think Paul has exhausted all important topics, he comes up with one more—how the church ought to treat widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16). What he said might surprise us.
How do we go about respecting and rebuking the saints? What is appropriate and what isn’t? Thank God He gave us 1 Timothy to answer these questions and serve as our guide.
Beginning in 1 Timothy 4:6 and continuing through the rest of the letter, Paul turns our attention to the one who seeks to be “a good servant of Christ Jesus,” namely, the minister. Paul starts off by outlining a list of dos and don’ts for effective ministry, focusing first on the pastor’s personal ministry and then on the pastor’s public ministry.
Today, we live and minister amidst the crazies. And if you doubt it, just look around. This isn’t your father’s world anymore. So what are we to do? Bunch tightly in our holy huddles, hoping to keep the world at bay? Not on your life!