“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.”
~ 1 Timothy 3:1
Hi James and Ellen,
Would you like to be an elder in a church someday? Your grandpaa believes that elders are to be guys. In the first letter that Paul sent to Timothy after sending Timothy to Ephesus to animate the Christ-follower communities of guys and gals that were meeting in different houses that were being led by guys who during the three years that Paul spent in Ephesus he taught in the Hall of Tyrannus the fundamentals of a new belief paradigm that centered on the reasons for and the results of the death and the resurrection of God the Son, Paul – in 1 Timothy 3, clarifies Timothy on how a guy can become an elder. A guy who can become the elder of a Christ-follower community of guys and gals – per what Paul explained to Timothy in this first letter that he sent him, is to be a guy who desires to be the overseer of his Christ-follower community of guys and gals. An overseer is another word for elder. When Timothy was living on planet Earth – which was nearly 2000 years ago, Paul thought that it was a good thing for a guy to want to be an overseer or elder. Paul tells Timothy in verse 1, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.” A couple of years after your grandmaa and grandpaa arrived in Bolivia to join the Bolivia South American Mission field missionary team, your grandpaa received a letter from Trey Reskie. Trey and his wife Hallie would often get together with your grandmaa and grandpaa when they were living at the same time in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Trey was a student at St. Paul Bible College at the time that he sent the letter to your grandpaa. Trey included in the letter that he sent to your grandpaa a copy of a paper that he had written for a Bible class that he was taking at St. Paul Bible College. Trey had done a paper on the position of overseer/elder. Tim concluded that overseers/elders in the early New Testament Christ-fellowship communities became overseers/elders by first learning to be overseers/elders through spending time under the tutelage of another guy who was already an overseer/elder. Once a guy was up to speed in what was expected of an overseer/elder, the guy would go to the other area overseers/elders to ask them if they would affirm what he wanted to do – which was to be an overseer/elder. If the other overseers/elders in his town or city – such as overseers/elders who lived in Ephesus, agreed to approve him to be an overseer/elder, the guy would become recognized as an overseer/elder. A guy could not be an overseer/elder if the other overseers/elders in his town or city agreed that he was not qualified in one way or another to be an overseer/elder. If a guy was approved to be an overseer/elder by the overseers/elders in his town or city, the guy could then take on the role of overseer/elder in his Christ-follower community of guys and gals. Another thing that Trey concluded in the paper that he wrote was that there was to be only one overseer/elder per Christ-follower community of guys and gals. Trey’s conclusion really made a lot of sense to your grandpaa as your grandpaa was finding out in his visits to Bolivian Christ-follower communities of guys and gals that there was invariably unhealthy competing going on between overseers/elders if there was more than one overseer/elder in the Christ-follower community that your grandpaa was visiting.
Your grandpaa does not know when Christ-follower communities began to hire guys who had been seminary trained to be their overseers as pastors, preachers or reverends or when elders were elected by guys and gals in Christ-follower communities to take on the spiritual oversight of their Christ-follower communities. Your grandpaa thinks that it would be really wise today if Christ-follower communities began doing it the way that Paul said to do it in the first letter that he sent to Timothy. Your grandpaa sometimes thinks that the guys who are choosing or the guys and gals who are electing elders have not actually read the requirements that Paul wrote regarding a guy who has decided that he wants to be an elder. Paul clearly communicates to Timothy that if a guy thinks that he can be an elder that the guy must be self-controlled, disciplined, hospitable, able to teach, gentle – not violent, not overbearing, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, not a new convert, have a good reputation with guys and gals who are not Christ-followers, love what is good, holy and upright, without reproach or blameless, temperate, respectable, does not get drunk, the husband of one wife, manages his family well, sees to it that his kids obey him, does not to pursue making money dishonestly and who jealously keeps hold of the deep, unchangeable Biblical truths. Your grandpaa too often has met, seen and known of guys who have been chosen or elected as elders who . . .
A couple of months after your grandpaa, grandmaa and dad moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, God divinely led them to begin attending the Aberdeen Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. After your grandmaa and grandpaa became members of the Aberdeen Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, guys and gals who were members of the Aberdeen Christian and Missionary Alliance Church elected your grandpaa to one of their elders. Your grandpaa took being an elder very seriously. Your grandpaa believed that he was not qualified to be an elder if he did not meet or satisfy or comply with every single one of the requirements that Paul told Timothy that he saw as being the requirements of a guy who has the desire to become positioned as an elder. Your grandpaa’s dad was for years an elder in the Volga Christian Reformed Church. There is absolutely no doubt in your grandpaa’s mind that his dad completed all the requirements that Paul told Timothy were the requirements for being an elder. Even if you are never an elder, your Father God still expects guys to live their lives as every elder is expected to live his life.
1 Timothy 3 (420)