The Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-21
“as for you … aim at righteousness, godliness …” (v.11) RSV
These past weeks we have been working through the Seven Ages of man as listed by Shakespeare, and we have been applying it to the Christian life. Today’s Age is actually expressed by Shakespeare by the word ‘Justice’ (or Judge), but I have changed it to ‘Elder’. The relevant point is that this person has reached full maturity and bears great responsibilities. He has fought at the front but now is in leadership.
Timothy was Paul’s protégé, and was comparatively young to be an Elder of a church. And yet he was a mature young man, and was being encouraged by Paul to become a pastor of others. “But as for you, man of God, shun all this [love of money, etc.- 1 Timothy 6:9-10]; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (v.11)
Elders in the faith are dependable, steady, balanced and helpful. Such people may not always exude superficial enthusiasm and overtly spiritual manifestations. They are not ‘Lovers’ (see last week’s reading), but are mature.
Timothy’s task was to “Fight the good fight of the faith” (v.12). He was, as Paul wrote to “Do your best to present yourself as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
How many of us have failed to grow up like this? The writer to the Hebrews was almost in despair at the immaturity of his flock. He wrote of them, “by this time you ought to be teachers, (but) you need someone to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12-13).
How many of us are still Indians and not ready or not willing to be Chiefs? God is looking for those to whom he can entrust the leadership of others. “If anyone aspires to the office of Overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1).
Make me fit to be an Elder, O Lord. May I become steady and dependable, and may I study to be approved. Amen.
1 How does Paul define maturity?
2 What did God say to Joshua when it was his turn to lead?