Suitable For The Pastorate
A pastor's role is an important one and a high calling. Pastors should exhibit traits such as patience, hospitality, and discipline.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to come back and be with you and look at the Word of God for awhile.
We’re looking at 1 Timothy, chapter 3, talking about the qualifications for pastors, and we just got through looking at the middle of verse 3, in chapter 3: “Not greedy of filthy lucre.” It’s no sin to try to augment your, your income so that you have enough to live on. It is a sin to be greedy after money. You know the difference, don’t you? Money can get between you and God in a hurry. Don’t let it happen. Don’t let it happen.
“But,” he said, “But patient.” “Patient.” Word for “patience,” the verb for patience is “hupotasso” – “stay down.” “Hupomone” – “stay down.” In other words, don’t blow up or pop off or give up, but stay down. Patient. That’s hard to do, isn’t it? I think one of the hardest things for me, is to be quiet when I know the other person is just leading the meeting in the wrong direction. Have you ever had that difficulty? Some dear, dedicated clod – you know – is, is just going off in the wrong direction entirely, and wasting the time of all the people in the meeting. You just want to jump up and say, “Hey now, wait just a minute!” and, and really tell them. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Be patient with people. Give them time. Give them time to learn themselves. You assign a task to someone and he does it in clumsy fashion, be patient with him and show him how to do it better next time. Always use the, the future.
Now, the next time, let’s try it this way, and whenever you’re going to, to correct a person, use the “we” approach – “We need to do it this way.” If you’re going to praise a person, use the “you” approach – “You did a great job there.” Not “we,” but “you.” “You did a great job.” If you’re going to correct a person, use the “we” approach. Let’s do it this way, the next time, okay?
“Patient.” Now, incidentally, it’s always too soon to give up on people. You say, “I’ve tried and tried and tried, and I just give up.” No, don’t do it. Don’t give up. God hasn’t given up on you, has He? You didn’t get to your present place of, of the absolute perfection overnight, did you? That halo that you have around your head – it didn’t get there overnight, did it? No, I’m just kidding you. You know, you, you and I have to depend on God to be patient with us. We’d better be patient, hadn’t we, with other people as well? Oh, don’t give up on people. Don’t give up praying for people. Don’t quit praying for people. Keep on praying. There used to be a little song we used to sing in the old days. It’s gone out of vogue now. “Just keep on praying till the light breaks through. Our God will answer, He’ll answer you. He keeps His promise, His Word is true. Just keep on praying till the light breaks through.” That’s the way to do it.
Then it says, “Patient, not a brawler.” Now, who in the world would be in the ministry and be a brawler? What does it mean to “brawl?” Means to get into a hot argument and, and, you know, just carry it too far yet. We have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable, and that is a, that is a lifelong assignment. Some people have a way of disagreeing with you, that it just riles you, doesn’t it? And you and I have, have erred in the same fashion – I’m sure – from time to time. When it says, “not a brawler,” it means “keep out of knock-down, drag-out arguments.” You have no business doing that as a child of God. It doesn’t glorify God. It doesn’t change anything. It just makes people mad, and wounds them, and, and leaves scar tissue. So don’t do it that way.
Then he says, “not covetous.” “Covetous.” You wouldn’t think a minister would need to be told that, would you? But it’s true of all of us. Every one of us has the problem: “I wish I had that.” “What a pretty house she has. I wish I had one like that.” “What a pretty mink coat she has. I wish I had one like that.” “What a beautiful sports car he has. I wish I had one like that.” “He got a promotion. Why didn’t I get one?” All of these different things – covetousness. Wanting something that is not yours. Wishing you had it because it belongs to somebody else.
“Covetous,” he says, “Don’t do it.” Why? Because the unspoken language of the soul is going to tell on you. If you and I go into our ministry for the Lord with a heart that wants something else, that is a form of idolatry. “Covetousness,” the Bible says, “is idolatry.” That is the Bible definition of it. Covetousness is idolatry. And so, if we go into trying to minister to other people while putting God out of His, His rightful place in our hearts, and instead wanting things and what they can do for us – which is a form of idolatry – we’re not going to minister to anybody. We’re not going to help anybody. Let’s get the victory over things, so that position and promotion and advantage and the chairmanship of the committee – or whatever it may be – let’s get the victory over that, so that we don’t come into our ministry with covetousness, which is idolatry.
Now, he says, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” That, that whole concept has gone out of vogue. I forget who it was… One of my minister friends was telling me that he was visiting, and in a house where the family consisted of Mother, Father, and a little three-year-old, and that this minister friend was seated across the table from the little three-year-old. During the meal, this little tyke reached out to, to a, a, a dish that had beets in it, you know, beets that had been boiled and sliced – red beets – and that chubby little hand picked up a small, red beet, aimed it, and threw it precisely at the minister, and it landed in the middle of his white shirt front with a splat and a splashing of red beet juice all over him. Now, what did the parents do? Well, the Mother said to the minister, said, “Now don’t, don’t say a word. We don’t want to inhibit his little personality.” I tell you, if that had been my child, there would have been some inhibiting. There would’ve been the application of the board of education to the seat of knowledge.
Yes, the idea of discipline has gone out of style, hasn’t it? And yet the Bible is full of references to the value of discipline. Dr. Dobson has written a book called “Dare To Discipline.” Well, we, we need to study that whole area. Now, there’s such a thing is as repressing the child. There’s such a thing as, as being so demanding that your child’s personality is warped as a result. I’ve seen that happen. Sometimes it’s been pretty close to my own life. I’ve seen it happen. There is such a thing as being repressive, and being too demanding, and warping the child’s personality as a result. That’s not what we’re talking about, is it? There is the wholesome, Christian kind of discipline, where the child is expected to obey, is expected to exercise respect for Father and for Mother, and where you just don’t get away with either talking back or disobeying or being disrespectful.
Now, as I say, that’s an old-fashioned concept, and with some of, with some of you, dear friends, it may not find acceptance and that’s alright; you don’t really have to agree with me, do you? One of the nice things about listening to the radio: you don’t always have to agree with that person who’s talking. But all I’m telling is that the Bible is on the side of parental discipline.
And I’m talking to some young people just now – I’ve got quite a few young folk in the listening audience, I happen to know – and let me say to you: God is on the side of your parents. Yes, they’re human, and yes they may make mistakes, and yes, you may not always think that their decisions are fair, and yes, sometimes they are going to say “no” to something that you want very, very much. All of that is true, but by the same token, beloved – young person – remember God is on the side of your parents, and God will reward you. God will reward you for obeying and respecting and showing love toward your parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord,” which is the first commandment. Paul says “with promise that it may be well with you, and that you may live long upon the earth, which the Lord God has given you.” See, there is a reference to the promise of the, of the Old Testament in Ephesians chapter 6, verses 1 to 3. Yes, God is on the side of being respectful and obedient to your parents. Don’t forget it, young people. And God says “I’ll, I’ll give you a good, long, fruitful, blessed life as a result.”
There are two promises that have to do with long life. This is one of them: Obey your parents, “That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” That’s one promise. The other promise for a long life is to put God first. If you honor God and put Him first, if you really love Him and put Him first, He says: “With a long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” There’s the other, there is the other promise about long life. “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver and set him on high.” “With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” So there’s two things: one, love and obey your parents; two, love and obey Almighty God. Those two promises have to do with living a long time. Interesting, isn’t it? But there it is, in God’s blessed, holy Word.
“Having his own children in subjection with all gravity.” What does “gravity” mean? “Gravity” means “Don’t play at it.” Parents, you’ve got to be consistent. You, you can’t be compromising one day and severe the next. Gravity means “hew a straight line,” “plow a straight furrow.” “No” must always mean “no.” “Yes” must always mean “yes.” You, you, you can’t play around with the truth or with the rules of your household and expect the kids to have any respect for them. The first time you bend any rule is the time when that rule ceases to be effective, right? So have as few household rules as possible, beloved. Have as few rules as possible, but put teeth in those rules and make them stick.
When he says, “with all gravity,” that means be serious about it. Don’t play at it, Don’t be on one day and off the next. And if the boss is coming to supper, don’t say “We won’t pray before meals tonight because the boss is coming and we don’t know how he feels about it.” You know that sort of the thing just doesn’t go with the kids. They want you to mean business all the time. That doesn’t mean you have to be solemn; doesn’t mean you have to be, be demanding and severe and grouchy and humorless. You can have a great time. You can have good sense of humor. You can enjoy your family life and at the same time be consistent and sincere and uncompromising on the things that really matter. Amen!
Well, that’s a big order. I think of my own family through the years. My children are grown now. I’m a grandpa. I can’t again, understand, because I’m so young. Well, the children are grown and they have their own children coming up, so the things I’m saying don’t, don’t apply to me directly in rearing children, but the truth is there, beloved, and every one of us needs to learn to live up to it, don’t we? May God bless us as we apply His truths to our hearts.
Dear Father, I pray today that we might be the kind of people whom Thou can use in Thy service, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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