We might be tempted to view churches with big attendance figures or large membership registers as successful. After all, they must be doing something right? Very often it’s the mega-church pastors that get asked to speak at conferences on church-growth and whose services are recorded for TBN. Mega-churrch pastors often write books that share their “secret” with the rest of us mediocre pastors.
Mega-churches may be very successful, but they also may not be.
1 Timothy 5:17-25 is about setting high standards*. Its about the need for Christian leaders to be careful about the way they live so that we don’t bring Jesus’ name into disrepute and undermine our message.
Christian Leaders should be honoured and cared for
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, 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.” (v17-18)
Here we learn that there were different kinds of elders in the New Testament church. There were some elders who were volunteers, or what’s called “lay elders”. They are responsible for the spiritual and pastoral oversight. And they’re also the ones who direct the affairs of the church. Back in Timothy’s day the majority were “lay elders,” working full-time jobs to support their families and then overseeing the church as volunteers.
Although we live in a very beautiful country filled with amazing cultural diversity and many good things, we also live in a country that faces huge challenges. There is a growing, rich elite that seems unconcerned for the poor. There is growing poverty because of poor education and lack of resources. When listening to the news we are confronted with corruption, lack of accountability, cronyism and poor service delivery.
The prophet Isaiah
Isaiah’s world was not much different and God’s message through Isaiah is for us today. Isaiah was a prophet in the Old Testament, who lived in Jerusalem, and related to the people a message from God. According to Isaiah 1:1 the vision is addressed to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. But the vision is not just for them, because 1:2 says “Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken…” Isaiah’s message is for all countries, all generations, all peoples, all the inhabitants of the earth, whether you are religious or non-religious, Christian or Muslim. In chapter 5 Isaiah pronounces God’s judgment on the world in the form of six woes. This is God’s message for the us.