Category Archives: 1Timothy

Apostle Paul’s letter

God’s Work and His Workers

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1Tim.5:17-22)

Christendom is plagued with leaders who portray larger-than-life images, demand celebrity status and live in royal style. Their point is that they are the ‘royal priesthood’, ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’, children of the King of kings and the ‘heirs’ of God. But they forget that they are ‘co-heirs’ with Jesus Christ, who emptied Himself of all His glory as the Creator God to take up on Himself the form of one of His own creation, that too, the likeness of the sinful humans. There are arguments about the status of a worker in God’s vineyard. Paul reminds Timothy to be careful about the work of God as it involves different people handling different responsibilities.

Honor Good Workers

The body of Christ is not an autocratic set up. Perhaps it is close to a democratic style except for the over all submission to the authority of God. It is a team of workers that are on the job, almost like the honey bees. Each one has his/her role to play, both initiative as well as supportive. That is why Paul is using the analogy of the body with different parts working together. However, there is an element of mutual accountability that should keep the work going.

Paul reminds Timothy to honor good workers, workers who do their jobs well. These are people who are committed to the call and work without selfish motives. There is special mention about those who are preaching and teaching the Word of God. The honor is in financial terms, double the pay of an ordinary worker. Paul refers to Deuteronomy 25:4 in his quote about the oxen that is threshing corn. He states that such workers are worthy of their pay. He recommends in Gal.6:6 that “Those who are taught the Word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them”. He also argues that “the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it”. (1Cor.9:14)

Rebuke Bad Workers

It is the collective responsibility of the Church to rebuke the erring servants. Discipline of the body is so important as we see in the Word but it is the most neglected responsibility. Leaders refuse to discipline people for fear of losing members. There should be a mutual accountability among the servants of God who check on each other for their walking in godliness. Paul recommends public rebuke of the erring worker so that it will serve as a warning to all.

However, there is a line of caution! In honoring the good worker as well as rebuking the bad one there should not be any partiality or favoritism. It is possible to reward someone who pleases you and to frame someone whom you don’t like. People pleasers will get favors and those who have difference of opinion will suffer. So, don’t jump to conclusions before allegations are authenticated.

Appoint Mature Workers

Much of the problems can be avoided if there is proper screening at the time of appointment. Read through 1Tim.3 and other passages where the qualifications of workers are mentioned. Look for faithful people as Paul reminds Timothy in 2Tim.2:2. By appointing unworthy workers we will be party to their sins and the impending judgment. So Paul warns not to be hasty, biased, or careless in appointing people for the ministry.

Personally we need to keep away from sin. Timothy was also reminded to take care of his health because our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (1Cor.3:16-17; 6:19). The suggestion to use a little wine as a medicine for his frequent stomach problem is not an excuse for habitual drinking. In all these, the real nature of a servant of God will be revealed through the years and it may lead him to condemnation or commendation accordingly.