For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,Titus 1:7(NASB)
Paul was a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his calling as God's appointed apostle to the Gentiles was to furnish the elect of God with a knowledge of the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ.. and to equip believers with godly attributes - which give glory to our Father in heaven.
Titus was a young man, who like Timothy demonstrated some special spiritual characteristics, and which had proved himself to be a reliable helper and fellow workman for the sake of the gospel of Christ. Paul considered Titus to be his son in the common faith, and gave him a responsibility to oversee the activities of the local churches on the island of Crete.
In this short epistle we discover that Paul had left Titus in Crete, entrusting him with the practical oversight of the churches around the island. Indeed he was given particular responsibility to ordain church elders and select godly overseers in every city.. for the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious and not fond of sordid gain.
Paul lays out the norm for church elders, who are to be men of outstanding character, with demonstrable leadership qualities and spiritual maturity. Every born-again child of God is a member of the body of Christ, and each have their own God-appointed gifts and abilities.. so that they are enabled to carry out the roles and responsibilities for which each are called.
Not every one is gifted to preach and teach, and similarly not everyone is called to be an church elder or the overseer in a local fellowship. It should not be a position that is decided by a self-appointed committee but a person who has been divinely enabled, and is personally willing to undertake the responsibility to shepherd and care for the people of God.. and to be vigilant in preventing false teachers and false doctrines from infiltrating their congregation.
An overseer should also be a man who is willing and able to lead by example and not by his own personal dictates. He should not be someone who becomes an overseer or a church elder, simply because he is good at book-keeping, organising an office, repairing the building infrastructure or a 'whiz' at booking good speakers!
The sort of man that is qualified and equipped to become an elder, is one that sees his role as humbly overseeing God's people through the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit - and not in order to further his career.. or furnish his own honour or credentials. He should humbly recognise that he is a servant of God, whose heart should be blameless before the Lord.. and who is both doctrinally sound and above reproach in his public and private life.
A self-willed individual, who likes to dictate the rule of law or who exhibits violent behaviour or crude thinking, is totally inappropriate for this role of overseer, but so also is the man who is too timid and fearful to stand up for that which is right and true. Rather an overseer should be sober-minded, prudent and discrete in word and deed.. as well as a man who is both trustworthy and led by the Spirit of God.
The qualities of the overseer that are outlined in this epistle to Titus, are in effect the characteristics that every child of God should seek to emulate. May we reflect on these godly qualities that Paul gives to Titus and examine ourselves to see if we are above reproach as God's steward - not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious and not fond of sordid gain.
Heavenly Father, I want to be the sort of person that is pleasing in Your sight. Help me to examine myself to see if there are any areas within my own life and character that could be displeasing to You. Furnish the church fellowships of our nations with godly overseers, who will take responsibility for caring for the flock of God and use them and me in whatever way You may choose, to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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