An Elder Mentoring a Next-Generation Spiritual Leader

A daily devotion for November 12th

A Good Minister

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

1 Timothy 4:6

It is necessary that we clearly understand the phrase Paul uses about Timothy. When he calls him a good minister of Christ Jesus, he is not thinking of him as a member of the clergy, like we would think of the pastor of a church standing up in front of a congregation. The word that is used here is actually the word deacon rather than minister--a good deacon of Jesus Christ. Even then the word is not referring to Timothy as an officer of the church; rather, it is the word that is commonly translated many places in Scripture as a servant. That is what a deacon is--one who serves. Here Paul is using the word in the widest sense possible--a good servant of Jesus Christ. Of course, in that sense servant includes everyone. All of us are called to be servants of the Lord Jesus.

In order to be a good servant of Jesus Christ, the apostle says you need certain things; and the first admonition Paul gives Timothy is, Watch what you are feeding on! Be nourished on the words of the faith and the good doctrine that you have followed.

What are you nourished by? That is the question this passage raises before us. What do you feed on daily? What do you put in your mind? What is your habitual input in your life? The sports pages, perhaps? Soap operas? The Dow Jones Averages? TV movies? Best-seller novels? If any of those things are your daily diet, then I can guarantee you will be a spiritually undernourished servant of Jesus Christ, because the apostle makes clear that what you feed on is what is going to determine how effective you become.

I do not want anyone to eliminate any of those things as though they are wrong. Not one of them is wrong in itself. We are not to eliminate them, but we are to regulate them. That is the point Paul makes. Regulate them as things that can be very dangerously distracting to us and often too easily controlling of our thoughts.

The apostle urges Timothy to give himself instead to what really feeds his spiritual life. What do you essentially need? Paul tells us: the truths of the faith and of the good teaching [doctrine]. Do not be afraid of the word doctrine; it means teaching--the teaching of the truth, the reality of life. That is what Christians need.

Notice how Paul combines two important elements: knowledge and decision. He says you need the good, sound words of the faith and good, sound teaching, and you are to follow them. First you learn, and then you do what it says. That is the formula for a good servant of Jesus Christ--giving yourself to nourishing yourself, feeding upon these things and then following them.

Lord, teach me to be a person of faith today; give me a faith that acts, a faith that rises up and obeys what You tell me to do.

Life Application

We gravitate to titles that seem to elevate our importance or prestige. Are we learning the true dignity of fulfilling our call to have a servant's heart, whatever our role?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

A Good Minister

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