Tuesday, September 28, 2010
A Bishop to Serve ( 1 Timothy 3)
Bishops are men of great stature. They are respected for their many attributes. When a man is called to serve as a bishop, his entire family is called. He will require their understanding, their patience, their kindness and their help. He will require that he "hold the mystery of the faith in pure conscience."
Our family has reaped the blessings of helping our father lead others as he served as Bishop of the Zionsville, Indiana Ward.(1998-2001) While the experience was his: he counseled, he led, he served, he taught, he went to untold amount of meetings, and he leaned on his counselors, the experience proved to be one that benefited our entire family.
In looking back on the two and one-half years that my husband served, I have seen the Lord's hand as he guided our family through a very dark (corporate and financial) storm. I can now see how my husband loved other families and helped their faith grow. I can see how he made endearing friendships. I can see how his leadership helped lead not only a ward family, but our family through very difficult times. Times that we could not have understood nor had the faith to comprehend without God's leadership and love.
It was a time when our own family began the experience of many serious life threatening surgeries. (daughter and son). It was a time when our eldest daughter left for college and began to test her own wings of flight. Our oldest children entered and traversed their teenage years and began to experience life on their own.
I know that the Lord looks after those whom he calls to serve as Bishop. I know that he looks after their families. During the time that my husband served, during this phase of our life, I know that I would not have wanted to be anywhere other than within "the fire of God's Love." I know that as we served we were also served. I have many stories that bear witness to the "pure conscience" of the mystery of faith.
Paul says Bishops should have certain qualifications. Deacons too have a list. I agree, but also know that no man is perfect. No man can have all of these. So let him have some of these and work hard to find the rest, or to find good counselors who can complement him with their own strengths.
I- Insolent (not)
S- STRIKER (NOT)
D-DOUBLE TONGUED (NOT)
E - EXPERIENCED WITH LIFE
A - APT TO TEACH
C- CONTENT (NOT COVETOUS)
O - ONE WIFE
N- NOT SLANDEROUS
other words: leader, vigilant, of good report, truthful, desirous of good works, not given to wine, not greedy, or of filthy lucre, not a brawler, not covetous, be able to rule his own house,
with his children in subjection, not a novice with pride,
good report with those who have not the faith, that he may not be snared by the devil.
family: children in subjection with all gravity, wives: grave, sober, faithful, not slanders
What does it mean to "Hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience?"
Paul taught that we should "examine yourselves, weather ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Corinthians 13:5) I think (I know) that service given as one serves must constantly be proven and reexamined. Great are the opportunities to serve, but great also are the opportunities to "faith have made shipwreck."(1 Timothy 1:9) Paul understood that those who lead the church (as well as all of us who believe) must examine and prove ourselves to keep our hearts pure, and our conscience whole.