Summary: Jesus has given leaders to the church who are called to a lead through their Christian character and example; it is not a calling that all desire because it comes with great responsibility. It is also a calling that requires great respect.

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“The Noble Task of Leadership”

1 Timothy 3:1

Why do politicians get such a rough stick when it comes to their leadership?

I don’t want you to answer out loud but I suspect, if we were to share our thoughts and answers, there would be many reasons … and a few of us might even start getting a bit upset … and even a bit passionate … about the poor job our political leaders are doing.

Now I am not a political expert. And I’m not saying I have all the answers. But I think politicians get a rough stick for two main reasons:-

They have forgotten that leadership means serving.

Too many of our leaders do not appear to be looking out for the interests of the country, rather they appear to be more interested in their career … and making themselves look good … and putting down the opposition … and being opportunistic.

The whole concept of the greatest becoming the least is a foreign concept to many … not all … but many. It wouldn’t hurt for a few of our leaders to have a look at Jesus and take a few lessons from him.

But I think there is a bigger issue.

They have forgotten that leadership is a noble responsibility.

If you don’t believe me just watch question time for 30 minutes … if you can last that long.

Bullying, name-calling, deliberate deception, opportunising, grand-standing, avoidance, character assassination and just general rudeness.

That is a typical question time … there is nothing noble about what is going on there.

And when you take the nobility out of leadership you take the heart out of leadership.

Paul understood this. So when he gave directions on establishing leaders in church he made sure that nobility was at the heart.

Let’s turn to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (read)

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.

This call to nobility is a call which impacts all of us.

Being an Godly overseer … a Godly leader … means upholding the nobility of the task.

Being a Godly congregation … a Godly flock … means respecting the nobility of the task.

For all the shortcomings, and questions and doubts and stumblings that leaders have – there is something very noble about taking up the responsibility of church leadership.

Paul wants us to clearly see that reality.

Indeed he emphasises the importance of this issue Here is a trustworthy saying. This phrase is used only 5 times in the whole Bible it always means, “This is the truth – count on it”.

• If it was spoken to a geometry student, you'd say ... "Here is an axiom – something that is always true”.

• If it was spoken to someone in business you would say … "This is something you can bank on”.

You can see the relevance of this statement in a biblical context by turning to 1 Timothy 1:15. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

When he speaks about the importance of leaders Paul is not talking about some superficial issue … one of those issues about which we can have different ideas.

In the mind of God the noble worth of the overseer is on a similar level of importance as one of the fundamental beliefs of our faith namely … Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

God takes the issue of leadership in His church very seriously … and so should we.

These truths bring us to the next phrase section whoever aspires to be. When it comes to leadership there are going to be people who feel called … who set their heart … who believe they are called … who stretch towards.

They seek to be equipped.

They are willing to grow, learn and be challenged.

They know some of the pitfalls, but desire to be involved anyway.

It’s at this point that verses 2-7 come to the foreground. What are leaders stretching towards? What are leaders setting their hearts on? The stretching is done in order to be people who fulfil the qualifications of an overseer.

• It involves character formation … temperate, self-controlled, respectable, gentle.

• It involves family relationship … the husband of one wife, having children who obey with respect.

• It involves a social consciousness … not given to much wine, not a lover of money.

• It involves certain gifts … able to teach, hospitable, a good reputation with outsiders.

As we look toward leadership we use our time to prepare … stretching to reach these qualifications.

Why is this necessary? God wants leaders who have a heart that is willing to provide spiritual leadership, willing to serve the church, and willing to provide a visible example to others of what it means to follow Jesus.

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