I am about half way through this list that Paul wrote to Timothy about the qualifications for an Elder/Pastor in the church. These are the very things that the church uses to “test” a man or a woman as Paul instructs. I am taking some time to go through each one and line up my “past” life with it and give my thoughts on these as I see them today, as I hear the Spirit speak…..
7. Not a heavy drinker *not drink too much wine – for me this has NOT ever been a problem while I was in ministry. I did not drink at all! This is a very tough subject and I want to try and touch it…….I guess from my perspective on this. We (the church) takes a stand to abstain from alcohol period……why? Well it is obvious why………but again man takes things the extreme. This is a MAJOR problem in our world, heck my own mother died at 47 years of age from alcohol and it’s a very sad death.
For a minister — I sure get this. People look to their pastor, leader, edlers to be above reproach as we talked about earlier in these post. IF I am your pastor and guiding you through a problem with drinking, or someone you live about the abuse of alcohol and then you see me drinking, that can really trip up a man/woman/teen….so in my opinion it’s best for the elders to just “NOT” touch it. I DO NOT, let me repeat I DO NOT have a problem with alcohol, with drinking a glass of wine, or a toast at a wedding etc…. but I must admit there were times while I was pastoring I would get judgmental with those who would partake in drinking, I think I got to a place where I thought how can someone love Jesus and still drink? I was WRONG, there is a HUGE difference between someone having a glass of wine or a beer and an alcoholic!
We did not drink in our home, my children NEVER had a problem as teens with drinking or drugs, I do believe there is a connection with this….. When I grew up both my parents drank DAILY and my mother was an alcoholic big time, most of us kids had major drinking and drug problems…..
So, I agree with Paul 100% and would even go a step further, if a pastor/elder DO NOT DRINK for it may trip up others around you.
8. Must not be violent – Here is another one I thought was a “breeze by” for me. I am not and was not a violent man! But what does it mean to be violent? Well once again the “testing” of a man is to see the inside as well as the outside. As I spoke before if you want to know the “inside” of a man go to his wife and children they will give you a glimpse of who they are. It is said we are who we are in our private life not our public life. MAN oh MAN this is so true.
I was never violent as in hitting someone, or screaming, cussing at people. But I did have a tempter that nobody ever saw, except my wife and my kids when they pushed me over the edge………lol even my dog could get the best of me at times. I must admit and confess my private life and my public DID NOT match up in this area. 😦
There are many things I could use as an example of this over the years and I’m sure if you ask my wife and my kids they could tell you many but there is ONE memory that sticks out to me and has haunted me over the years from time to time. I want to share as an example of what I’m talking about. In public we are able to put on the man people want to see, but in private can be totally different and if anyone ever saw it they would be horrified! Usually it’s within the family and family “love” hides so many things and protects the person from others knowing the truth. Is it done on purpose? I don’t think so, I think it’s just the natural way of a family. What should separate this would be when a man or woman steps into public roles….in this case entering into ministry full time as a pastor….. the church needs to find a way to open up with the families to really “test” a man. How would this look? I DO NOT KNOW lol — but it is the answer I believe. I have had pastors in my life, I have been friends with many pastor’s in my lifetime that have fallen because of a violent temper, or an act that is “out of the ordinary” for who we thought they were. When in fact the wife or family will ALWAYS tell you that behind closed doors it was different than it appeared.
For me I have a memory of my son Ryan, he is a grown man now with his own family and a FINE young man with a heart of GOLD!! When he was a young teen maybe 13 or 14 his mother asked if I would take Ryan and allow him to live with me. I left my wife when Ryan was only 2 years old and I was a horrible father at the time, we really had a very shallow relationship, but I now was getting my life together and thought it would be good. My oldest daughter Jenna came when she was 15 and it worked out pretty good. Although looking back now it had nothing to do with me, Diane did all the hard work, I was the fun dad and really didn’t take a role in her life as a loving father that would guide her along. Anyway, Ryan now comes to live with us and it’s pretty much a blur for me. The one memory that hangs with me is one day I come home from work and Diane tells me that Ryan has not come home from school yet and had no idea where he was. She was upset and so I ended up getting mad, when Ryan came home I asked where he was in ANGER and things just escaladed from there, I DO NOT remember the conversation at all but I do remember pinning Ryan down on the floor with my fist in the air screaming at him………I was FURIOUS and I’m sure he was scared ….. he really didn’t know me and here I was acting like a maniac threating to beat the crap out of this young boy. Writing this makes me cry today, I was his father at the most important time of his life, suppose to be a man teaching him how to be a man, how to grow up, control his thoughts, anger, emotions, how to LOVE and how to walk in victory. And my VIOLENT tempter is what I remember……..I wonder what he remembers? I am SO SORRY for this.
This is just one example of what Paul is talking about……if Diane was interviewed and Ryan was interviewed before the credentials board before I was ever ordained they could have seen if my private life matched my public life! It either does or doesn’t’ period!!! One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control………if you do not have this sooner or later it will come out and when it does it is NOT good for the body of Christ at any level.
Enough for today — I am a wreck