I have a new appreciation for 1 Timothy 3:4-5. In context, it says from the KJV:
- 1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
- 1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
- 1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
- 1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
- 1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Because to me, these precious verses have become more than just a demonstration of an elder’s leadership capability. Yes, they ARE that. But, they also describe a place of refuge. I’m SO glad I’ve come to see this.
The last two years have been the most difficult of my ministry. Although we have happy saints and wonderful worship and discipleship opportunities, the level of spiritual warfare has been beyond anything I’ve seen previously. However, as hard as it has been, it hasn’t been as hard as it COULD have been. Why? Because of the home God has allowed my wife and me to build. My home is a place of refuge, and I praise God for it.
An elder must “ruleth” his own house well. He must manage his home unto the glory of God. This verse doesn’t imply some sort of heavy-handed patriarchy. Rather, it describes a well-ordered, albeit imperfect place of love, hospitality, education and discipleship, fun, exciting food, and peace. :) Paul describes the environment well to the Colossians and to Titus:
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:1-8)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Col 3:12-17)
By God’s grace, He has strengthened Donna and me for 24 years to guard and protect our marriage and home. We take NO credit. Glory and honor belongs to Jesus alone. In recent years, the oasis I enter through my front door has meant more and more.
I think Donna is mostly responsible. LOL! I praise God for my wife, who doesn’t fight God’s commandments for order in the home (Eph 5:22-33). She is gentle, kind, easy to lead, hardworking, and absolutely gorgeous. Her heart is homeward, focused on me and our children. So by God’s grace, she has created a beautiful environment for our entire family.
Friends, protect your home. Just start where you are. Build it with love and Scripture and prayer and holiness and fun.
May your home become a Place of Refuge.