Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership
Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, God saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges. With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?
Quite obviously, it has to be second place. It must not elbow its way to the front, it must not bossily take over. Ego-centered, ego-prominent leadership betrays the Master. The best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, is inconspicuous, not calling attention to itself but not sacrificing anything in the way of conviction and firmness either.
In his letters t two young associates–Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete–we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his live and his letters shows us how to do it right.
May we read with an open heart and mind, willing to lay down what the world teaches us about leadership. Read these passages with prayerful consideration and think about each characteristic trait that is expressed. Meditate on each leadership principle as Paul gently and lovingly pens the lessons that God developed and formed in him. Paul is a leader transformed…all because of Christ in him. We will learn a lot in the coming days. Let’s do it!
1 Timothy 1, The Message
1-2 I, Paul, am an apostle on special assignment for Christ, our living hope. Under God our Savior’s command, I’m writing this to you, Timothy, my son in the faith. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
Self-Appointed Experts on Life
3-4 On my way to the province of Macedonia, I advised you to stay in Ephesus. Well, I haven’t changed my mind. Stay right there on top of things so that the teaching stays on track. Apparently some people have been introducing fantasy stories and fanciful family trees that digress into silliness instead of pulling the people back into the center, deepening faith and obedience.
5-7 The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.
8-11 It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.
12-14 I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.
15-19 Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.
Deep honor and bright glory
to the King of All Time—
One God, Immortal, Invisible,
ever and always. Oh, yes!
I’m passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in.
19-20 There are some, you know, who by relaxing their grip and thinking anything goes have made a thorough mess of their faith. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two of them. I let them wander off to Satan to be taught a lesson or two about not blaspheming.
LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #1:
Know your message. “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Point the way to Jesus, not yourself. Jesus saves. We do not.
–Love, simply love God and others like Jesus loves us.
–Stay focused on Christ. Go deep in faith and obedience.
–Keep a firm grip on the message. Preach the message of Jesus.
–“Live a life open to God”. Listen to God. Speak the words He gives us to speak. Do what He says when He says to do it. When we are open to God, we are emulating the example of Christ, “I only say and do what the Father tells me….”
–HOW you say it as important as what you say. Love God, love others. Speak the Truth of Jesus Christ with love. This is a love “uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Word to us is rich with wisdom, insight and understanding through the experiences you have given to Paul. We thank You for telling Paul to write this down so that Your ways can be passed on. Help us to learn well. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen