“He must manage his own household well…-1 Timothy 3:4-7
Sometimes, raising a family with children can feel like you live in Jurassic World (or is it just me)? How does a potential pastor respond and handle it? In this post we turn to one of the longer explanatory qualities given by Paul for those who would serve as a pastor. As you read, remember, the desire is that you would look beyond the candidates to your own life and seek to grow in Christ-likeness in all things such that your own life would align with the description given in 1 Timothy. So lets get to it:
“He must manage his own household well”
In verse 15, Paul refers to the church as “the household of God.” Part of the task of Elders/pastors is to oversee this “household of God.” The word used here is translated as “manage.” In 1 Timothy 5:17 it is translated as “rule.” Given this reality, a natural place to look to assess a man’s ability to faithfully oversee God’s household is to observe whether this man is faithfully ruling his own household. While this has in view all aspects of managing a home (finances, stewardship, etc), it particularly pertains to the relational aspects of his home. Every man is a pastor of his own household, his wife being the charter member, and his children are his greatest disciples.
It’s important to note that he is to manage his household “with all dignity keeping his children submissive.” Is the manner in which they lead “dignified?” It’s not just about results, it’s about reflecting Christ in all things. These men are involved (that word ‘involved’ is worth an article to itself) and lead in Christ-like love and grace. They shepherd their children’s heart and apply Biblical methods of discipline when appropriate to correct behavior. The result will not yield perfect children, nor is that the expectation, but it should yield generally submissive children and a well-managed home.
As elders have the role to teach and model godliness and exercise spiritual authority in the church, the questions to ask are pertinent to this. Is this man making disciples in his home from those who truly follow him the most? Has he learned to exercise authority with love and effectiveness such that his children are generally submissive and his home is well-ordered?
On one hand, we must show grace for this and account for differing temperaments of children, cultural/generational differences of emphasis on parenting, seasons of trial, and other factors. We want to be careful that we do not set the bar so high that it’s unattainable. On the other hand, we mustn’t explain away all mismanagement and misbehavior such that the qualification effectively means nothing either.
So how do we assess this Biblically? In humility and prayer, we look at the general pattern, effort, and result of a man’s management of his household. In so doing we should conclude a few things: He leads in Christ-like love, he’s diligent to disciple his family, and he exercises discipline faithfully in such a way that his wife and children generally follow where he leads.
If he is faithful and able to do it in the home, then he can be considered to lead in the church.
As you consider this in light of the candidates, take a moment to examine your own household. If you’re the head of your household, do you lead in a Christ-like, dignified manner? Do you read and pray with your spouse and/or children at all during the week? Is gentleness or harshness your general pattern of speech and action? Are you and your spouse on the same page regarding discipline and correction of children? Would your children be considered submissive and well-managed by others in the church? How would you accurately asses this? Where can you grow in these things? As you seek to humbly examine yourself, may the Lord grant all of us to grow together so that collectively we adorn the gospel of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Growing With You,
Randy Pauley, Pastor