June 3, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I am a pastor – let’s further explore this response to the question, Who Am I? We will continue using Paul’s description of the qualifications of a bishop (elder, pastor) found in Titus 1:6 through 9:
…if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children
not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blame-
less, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to
wine, not violent, not given to money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good,
sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he
has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and
convict those who contradict.
In our last blog we looked at the first two qualifications of a pastor from verse 6 of our scripture – “…if a man is blameless [and] the husband of one wife….” (All definitions here presented are taken from Strong’s A Concise Dictionary Of The Words In The Greek New Testament).
3. Titus 1:6 – “…if a man…[has] faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination….” Faithful children strongly implies that a pastor’s offspring should be brought “…up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” The way a pastor’s children are raised should be a model of how to rear godly sons and daughters!
But what if those children are “…accused of dissipation or insubordination…” and for sound reasons? The Greek word for dissipation (or riot – KJV) means “…properly unsavedness, i.e. (by implication) profligacy….” A profligate, according to Webster, means “…abandoned to vice, dissolute…recklessly wasteful….” The Greek word for insubordination (or unruly – KJV) means “…morally irregular….”
This does not mean that a pastor’s children are to be perfect! Unfortunately, many church members expect such unreasonable perfection from PK’s (pastor’s kids)! Maybe that is why my dear wife told me when we first got married, “You can be anything you want to be. Just don’t be a pastor!” She did not want our children growing up under the pressure of unreal expectations!
But I have learned that it is not so much that a pastor’s children must be model kids. After all, they are children! And they are born with a sin nature into a sinful world! They also need “…to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4). PK’s will stretch their wings and test authority, whether it be parental authority or wider societal authority. And, yes, they will make mistakes and get into trouble! It is how a pastor and his wife will handle those situations when they occur more than if they dare to happen! Will the problems (rebellion, challenges, mistakes, trouble) be handled according to God’s direction from His Word, or will they be ignored and left to fester and grow?
Just last night, after our Wednesday night Bible study at church, my pastor and I were talking about this very subject. He told me about his youngest boy, now 25. The issue was that the son was an outstanding wrestler in high school, but some of the matches were on Sunday morning when my pastor insisted that his family would be in church! “Oh, he challenged me and my wife! He got so angry at us that he would not speak to us for a long time. But my prayer was, ‘God, I will try my best to honor your Word. I can take the anger and all that goes with it. But please do not let my son rebel.’ ” God honored that commitment and pastor’s son was a state champion in wrestling, even though he missed some important matches! But the real payoff, my pastor said, “…was that my son never rebelled. And today he is a preacher with his eye on further ministry.”
4. Titus 1:7 – “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God….” The first qualification of a pastor (which we covered in the last blog) is “…if a man is blameless…” (verse 6). It is the same Greek word used here, and it means, “unaccused, i.e. (by implication) irreproachable….” But here, in verse 7, it says he “…must be blameless, as a steward of God….” A steward is one who is “…a house-distributor (i.e. manager), or overseer…figuratively a preacher (of the Gospel)….” Paul said in I Corinthians 4:1 and 2, “Let a man so consider us, as the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” God calls pastors to a certain position over a portion of His Church, and He gifts that one to properly carry out that call! How a pastor responds to, manages and uses those gifts and that position determines if that one will be counted a blameless steward or not!
There are several more qualifications of a pastor listed in our Titus scripture. So we will continue our study on Friday.