It was such a humbling and honoring experience last night when our Elders ordained me as an Elder in our church body. It was not something I was striving after or really had in mind. When I was approached about it, I was surprised and excited all at the same time. What a great honor and opportunity to lead others to be more like Christ. What a great responsibility to shepherd the church body. I love our church and the many people who make it up. I have been part of Family Church for the past 16 years and know God called me here to do His will and work. From the age of 15, I know God has called me to be a pastor. I've never wanted to do or be anything else since that time. I don't desire to do construction or web design - although they are hobbies of mine. I don't have a passion for any other vocation. I want to minister to people - helping them to be more like Christ, sharing the Gospel with others and equipping them to do His work. It is an honor to be a pastor and a double honor to be an Elder. It's not a position or title. I don't want that. It's a calling to do His will. Lord keep me humble and give me opportunity to build your church in a greater way.
We should all set our sights on growing and maturing in the Lord. These qualifications should be the goal of every believer, not just Elders and Pastors. These are goals we will all strive for if we mean business with Jesus Christ. In essence this should be our aim because as these marks are realized, we will also be accomplishing the other goals God has for our lives. Paul said in Philippians 3:12-15 (and I desire this for my life), "Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways."
In 1 Tim. 3:1, Paul carefully chose to use the word "episkope", the “office or charge of oversight.” But why? Because this word stresses the ministry function and nature of this office as a charge from God and not title or position. God is not looking for men who are aspiring for position. Jesus made this clear to the disciples. The church needs men who want to serve the body for the glory of God and the blessing of others. I want to be a man like that. I am charged by you to do your Word.
Second, note the next statement of verse one. “It is a fine work he desires to do.” Underline the word work. Work is the Greek word "ergon" which means “work, deed, action, task, enterprise, undertaking.” The emphasis is clearly not on aspiring to a position or a place of prestige, but on the function and work of overseeing, an aspiration which is to have its root in godly and pastoral love for the well-being of God’s people rather than personal and selfish agendas. Paul says this is trustworthy and honorable. I desire to work hard for You Lord. I desire to serve and build Your church.
My prayer is that I would set my sights on spiritual maturity. As I do I want to be careful of my motives. The purpose of maturity is not to make us more comfortable and secure, or land us with a position in the church. Its purpose is to make us more like the Lord Jesus and effective as His representatives in a lost and dying world. I want to Exalt God, Edify the Body and Evangelize the lost. I want to exalt God, edify the body of Christ and evangelize the lost.
A student once came to Howard Hendricks with a problem. The student said, “Hey Professor Hendricks, I have a problem.” "What’s your problem?”, Hendricks said. “Why did the Lord choose Judas?” Hendricks replied, “Ah, that’s no problem. I have a bigger problem than that.” The puzzled student said "what’s that?” Hendricks replied "Why did the Lord choose you? Why did the Lord choose me?”
His point was, the Lord launched a worldwide campaign with the likes of Peter and common men. Why would he used common, average, uneducated men, that reached the world and turned it upside down? Why? Because these common men intimately knew the Lord and began to experience His life and character in theirs by the Spirit of God. He took common men and made them into great men who became spiritual leaders because they were experiencing Him. We need godly men like this!
If we must choose between giftedness and godliness, let us choose godliness. Both are great and needed but let’s keep the emphasis where God puts it! I want to be Godly and holy as I use the giftings you have give me to build your Kingdom. Let me keep my eyes focused on You - the author and finisher of my faith.