READ : 1 Timothy 4:11-16
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. (v. 16)
I have been privileged to participate in many services of ordination to the ministry. In my denomination, the charge to the one being ordained incorporates this passage from 1 Timothy in which Paul instructs his young associate Timothy on the responsibilities of Christian leadership.
The counsel that Paul gave Timothy is fitting for all who follow Jesus Christ, but it is especially poignant for pastors and teachers, those who tend and feed the Good Shepherd’s flock. We are reminded to be examples in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity; and to be attentive to reading, prayer, study, preaching, and teaching.
As someone who has spent most of his life as a teacher and pastor, I am reminded of the awesome responsibility of feeding Christ’s lambs and tending his sheep every time I attend an ordination service. And every time I stand before a congregation or in front of a class of students, I feel Paul’s hand on my shoulder: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”
It is a wonderful privilege to serve the members of the body of Christ, but it is also an awesome responsibility. However, whenever this responsibility weighs heavily on us, we must remember that we have been gifted and empowered by Jesus Christ, who is with us always to relieve our burdens and lighten our loads.
Gracious God, when the weight of leadership seems too great to bear, remind us that you are always with us to ease our burdens.