Passage: 1 Timothy 5:17-25
Speaker: Mitch Kim
Series: Truth Over Spin
Care Of Leaders
How do we build a culture of honor? Without honor we use and discard people as disposable; with honor we value as God values, blessing both those who overlook and those who oversee others. Last week we looked at how to honor those marginalized in community, the widows. This week we look at how to honor the leaders of a community, the elders within the church. We honor leaders by providing, protecting their office, and preparing them to lead.
First we honor leaders by providing ( 1 Tim 5:17–18). Leadership is inevitably a visible role, and so it is easy to criticize those who lead. Yet “elders who rule well [should] be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (5:17). And this is grounded in Scripture, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain” (5:18). Such provision honors the work that God does through them.
Also we honor leaders by protecting their office (1 Tim 5:19–21). The office of leadership is protected by not allowing unsubstantiated slander to corrupt their reputation. However this is not only about protecting a reputation, but it also is about rebuking publicly when some might persist in sin. Both of these qualities are important. If we allow unsubstantiated accusations to be charged against elders, then their credibility can be quickly sapped. However if we do not rebuke clear persistence in sin, then we allow the office of that leadership to be eroded. Instead the office of leadership should be protected by addressing sin properly “without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality” (5:21).
Finally we honor leaders by preparing them to lead (1 Tim 5:22–25). Leadership responsibility should not be given easily; we should “not be hasty in the laying on of hands” (5:22). Earlier Timothy had received a gift from the laying on of hands (4:14); here they should not be hasty in imparting those gifts. When a leader is placed in a position that they are not ready for, then their sins affect many. As a result, we should take time to prepare leaders well so that they might blossom.
In this way we establish a culture of honor. We honor those who are overlooked as well those who oversee others. As we do so we release God’s blessing in our midst.