God’s Calling for the Husband

What is the most important thing God wants husbands to do? Is it to provide an income for the family? Is it to be the leader of the family? Is it to take out the trash on garbage day? Let’s take a quick look at God’s biggest job for husbands.

The role of the husband is explained in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 25-33. Let’s look at verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. That is the first job of a husband!! And yes, it is very very hard to do. It is hard to die to ourselves, to our wants and needs. It is hard to have that level of love for our wife. As husbands, God calls us to love our wife to the point of dying for her, like Jesus died for all the sinners that make up the church. As a husband myself, I fail every day to love my wife with this kind of love. So, how much should you love your wife? Verses 28 and 29 answer that: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”. We all love ourselves and our body. We feed our body when we are hungry. We go see a doctor when we are sick. God wants us to love our wife with the same love we have for ourselves. That too is hard to do!

God wants a husband to value his wife and focus on her needs. In Philippians 2:3, we are commanded to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves”. God wants us to consider our wife as better than ourself! Verse 4 continues: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Why should we consider the interests of others as better than our interests? Because that is what Jesus did! He became a servant. Of all people, Jesus (God in the flesh) deserved his rights, and deserved to be treated much better. Yet, he purposefully left us a model of servanthood and He asks us to be like Him. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

What is the biggest job of a husband? Husbands are commanded to love their wives. They are commanded to love them so much that they die for their wives, like Christ died for the Church!

Pastoral Leadership (Part 3)

Let’s continue to examine the topic of “Pastoral leadership – What should it look like?” In this article, I would like to focus on the topic of spiritual authority.

In some churches, we see leaders wear beautiful and expensive robes or other clothing that sets them apart. They also wear magnificent and imposing hats that signify their importance. They often wear expensive jewelry. They might even expect you to bow before them or kiss their ring. Is that biblical spiritual authority? Let’s look at a few Bible verses to find the answer.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter is addressing Elders and he tells them to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight … not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” Here we see that Elders are not to assert their will over people in an arrogant way; they are not to dominate them. Instead they are to be examples by their own conduct and life. Paul told Timothy (a church leader) to be an “example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Let’s look at how Jesus modeled authority. What did he say? How did he act? In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus addressed two of his disciples who wanted honor and glory and he said to them “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus acted as a servant and told his followers to act as servants. In John 13, we read of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. That was the job of a servant! And Jesus told his disciples to do likewise.

Furthermore, a church leader should never think that he has the authority to become a mediator between God and men. The Bible is clear. There is “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). No man should take the place of God and His authority in the lives of church members.

In conclusion, an elder must have a right view of spiritual authority. Elders are given authority in the church in order to edify and build up, never to boss their fellow servants around. Elders are not to seek glory and power. Instead, they should seek to be servants.

Pastoral Leadership (Part 2)

As I continue my series of articles on the topic of “Pastoral leadership – What should it look like?”, I would like to turn to the very important topic of love.

A pastor needs to love the sheep God has giving him! Love for his congregation should be one of the things that fuels him when he visits those that are sick in the hospital, when he talks to those that need counselling, when he prays for them or when he visits them in their homes.

In 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1 to 3, Paul reminds us that “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” This applies also to pastors as they lead their church. If a pastor preaches amazing sermons, baptises many, sacrifices to serve his flock, has incredible faith, has helped his congregation memorize tons of Scripture and knows the Bible inside out but lacks love, then, according to God’s Word, it profits him nothing!

Love for his people should be one thing that motivates a pastor (we will look at other biblical reasons for his motivation in future articles). One motivation that has no place in pastoral ministry is doing it for the paycheque. 1 Timothy 3:3 says specifically that a pastor should not be greedy for money. When a church thinks about finding a new pastor, they need to be careful to make sure that this man will do a good job because he loves people and not because of the monetary gain.

Going back to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul concludes this chapter by saying in verse 13 that love is greater than faith and greater than hope. Churches, when choosing a pastor, often focus on the faith of the man and on his ability to bring hope to people. The apostle Paul points out that love is what matters most! When selecting a pastor, a church needs to make sure that the candidate is a man of love, even more than a man of faith.

What should pastoral leadership look like? Love!

Pastoral Leadership (Part 1)

I have been asked to write a series of articles for this blog on the topic of “Pastoral leadership – What should it look like?” As we begin to look at this subject, I want to focus my first article on the biblical qualifications of a pastor/elder (I will use the term “elder” and “pastor” interchangeably in these articles since they refer to the same office in Scripture).

If elders are to lead a group of believers (the church, the called out ones), what should we look for in order to find men who can get the job done? What would we expect to find in a job description for a pastor? A quick look at a website that posts job offers for pastors revealed that most churches are looking for similar things. Here is a quick summary:

– A seminary degree
– A certain number of years of experience
– A visionary leader
– An excellent communicator
– A proficiency in computer skills

While these requirements can be very useful, are these the things that matter the most when it comes to leading a church? Let’s look to God’s Word for the answer! On two occasions, the apostle Paul writes about what kind of men to look for when appointing elders to lead local churches, once when writing to Timothy and the other time when writing to Titus. Let’s look at that last one. In Titus 1:5-9, Paul tells Titus to look for men who are:

– blameless;
– faithful to their wife;
– have children who are believers and who are not accused of having wild lifestyles or of being rebellious;
– hospitable;
– appreciate what is good;
– sensible;
– honest;
– upright, moral;
– self-controlled and disciplined;
– not arrogant;
– not irritable or quick-tempered;
– not drink too much;
– not a violent person;
– not greedy, does not make money in shameful ways.

We might be surprised that Paul didn’t put the emphasis on the level of training they have received, the years of experience they have in leading people, or to check if they are great communicators. As useful as these might be to a pastor, Paul bypasses them. Instead, he tells Titus to look at the character of the men and see if any qualify. Paul goes for the most important thing and lays out guidelines to help churches find leaders. That’s because God considers the character of a man (what that man is like) to be very important! If serious flaws are detected in the character of that man, then his training, his experience and his skills (like being a good communicator) don’t matter. That’s why God wants the focus to be on the heart of the individual. That’s where the search should begin.

To summarize this first article, pastoral leadership requires a Godly character. When a church looks to appoint or hire a pastor/elder, the first place to start is by looking at the character of that man and see if it lines up with the list of character traits God gives us in Titus 1:5-9 and 1st Timothy 3:1-7. Many churches today are experiencing leadership problems because they have skipped this very important first step when they appointed their leaders.