Paul charged Timothy to take care of those who where under his care. Good Leadership must guard the community of God from the disputes and arguments that come over words because of envy, strife, evil speaking, evil suspicions, or useless words that hurt people because of corrupt thinking and not understanding the truth. People enter into such things for their own gain. Paul’s instructions to Timothy reveal that leadership was to separate from such people and teach the believers to do the same. This is not the way Christ-like humans act and to associate with such people is a waste of time and a blemish in the community of God. We can expect sinners to act such and we seek to reach out to them in love, but we do not condone these character attributes in a covenant community of God. The best thing to do when people seek to act in divisive ways is to avoid entering into their divisiveness with them. It is a waste of time to get into disputes that don’t lead to life. We are the community of God and we must seek the things that make us be known as people of God.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
Leaders don’t lead ministry, they lead people who are the ministry of Christ in the earth. Leaders help those they lead to become a community that expresses Christ’s character, nature, way, power, and authority to the world. Leadership must set the example of being a Christ community person and they must accept the responsibility of leading those in their care to become a testimony of the same. We are not to be expressions of worldly communities doing Christian things. We must desire for and allow the Holy Spirit to make us become expressions of Christ-like communities doing the things required of us in an everyday world.
Paul told Timothy to set an example of a godly and content life and to teach others to live godly and content lives. God-sent leaders teach godliness with contentment in the community of their planting. They must guard against the love of things by promoting the more important things before, to, and in the lives of those they lead.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Money or things are not the roots of evil. It is the love of money and things that reveals an evil root in our hearts. People who do not know God are looking to find love in the world. In their confusion they often turn to the things the world provides to find their contentment. The result is the manifestation of a worldly, greedy character. These things do not produce true life. The community of God is to be a life-giving community in and to the world they live in. Leaders must set an example that others can follow in the midst of everyday world realities. Timothy was to set an example that others could follow in pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.
1 Timothy 6:11But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
True righteousness involves a love relationship with God and with others. True godliness requires sacrificial acts of love towards others. Faith comes by hearing someone and it is made manifest through works of love towards them. Love is not merely an emotion or a personal gratification of some kind. It is a will, a mind, an emotion, an imagination, and an action towards another for their wellbeing. It is covenant in nature and it seeks to give life to others and never takes it. Patience is a willingness to endure, suffer, and wait upon another. Gentleness is a gift of love to another in a kind and tender way. None of these attributes are for personal gain, but for the benefit and life of another. Leaders must be an example in these things and lead others to live their lives in the same way.
Timothy was to set an example in fighting the fight of faith and embracing the eternal life of God. True eternal life is a knowing of God the Father and an intimate knowledge of the Jesus the Son (Jn. 17:3). Eternal life is not just the promotion to glory when we die; it is living in a personal relationship with God throughout our lives for the glory of His name. Leaders must set an example that others can follow in living their everyday lives with an intimate relationship with God in all things.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Relationship with God was to be first and foremost in all things. Leaders must know that the foundation of their leadership grace is in a personal relationship with God. This is the kind of people we are to be! This is the kind of community we are in the earth for the communities of men to see! We must inspire others to see, experience, and walk in the life that God has for all men!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson