Sunday, April 21, 2013

1 Timothy 2:1, 2

     Sunday in Bible study we discussed 1 Timothy 2:1, 2:  "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (NKJV).

     I reflected on the emails I receive and the posts on Facebook relating to our officials—many containing insults and criticisms (some true and some false according to and  I don't see that rehearsing their faults is helping me to have a more quiet and peaceable life.

     I have decided this week to do what Paul said for officials:  make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.  It may not change our president, the congress, the Supreme Court, or a constable in the county.  But it could change me if I reflect every day during my prayer for them that they are ultimately not in control of this country or the universe.

     God is involved in the selection of rulers.

"And He changes the times and the seasons;  He removes kings and raises up kings;  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding" (Daniel 2:21).

     God called Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, "My servant."  Our Father has and can use evil people to accomplish His will.

     Paul tells me to obey governing authorities and honor them (Romans 13:1-7).

     This week I plan to do this.  The worst of my government officials are probably much better than the Caesar ruling Paul when he wrote the book of Romans.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Evaluation Should Be Mutual

     Obviously, elders have the oversight of a congregation which includes the preacher and other people on staff as well as the rest of the congregation (Acts 20:28). A supervisor has the responsibility of the effectiveness of those under his or her leadership. However, a position and title of oversight does not carry with it infallibility. 

     Evaluators need to be evaluated. Christians are to honor and express appreciation to the leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13). As members we are not to accept and believe frivolous, unfounded, derogatory comments about elders (1 Timothy 5:17). But if they continually and rebelliously miss the mark with no indication of correction, they are to be publicly censured (1 Timothy 5:18). If that is true, some discussion before that serious reprimand would be following the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). 

     Evaluation isn’t a negative word. It includes both corrective and positive observations—all for the good of everyone. When we tell the truth about each other, we are free to improve, continue, adjust, or reply to gain a better understanding and relationship. “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it” (Deuteronomy 1:38) “But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see” (Deuteronomy 3:28). “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). 

     This principle has tremendous implications. Think of how relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, elders and congregations, teachers and students could be improved by invited, truthful, regular, and mutual evaluation.