Bringing radical thoughts worth pondering (A blog of poriruachurch.com)
As we conclude our study of the negative qualifications of elders we find another one given in the inspired list.
1 Timothy 3:3 – “Not covetous” (King James Version); “No lover of money” (American Standard Version).
Titus 1:7 “Not given to filthy lucre” (KJV); “Not greedy of filthy lucre” (ASV).
Three chapters later in Timothy’s letter, Paul points out vividly the sin of loving money (1 Tim. 6:9, 10). Those who have an excessive desire for it “fall into temptation, a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition.” Furthermore, he says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” The result for many has been a departure from the faith and hearts filled with sorrow and remorse. Such a desire for money should never be characteristic of anyone who claims to be a Christian, not to mention one who holds the highest office known to man… an elder in the body of Christ. If a man lets his business or his occupation hinder his faithfulness, or his business practices have been questioned, or whatever might indicate an excessive love of money, he should not be considered for the eldership. If he has such a reputation among church members he will have the same among his associates outside the church. Therefore, he could not serve as an example to the flock and would bring even more reproach upon the church. On the other hand, this is not to say that a wealthy man or one who works hard to support his family should not be considered. Wealth and industry in and of themselves are not signs of covetousness. A lazy, poor man may be a lover of money. To Titus Paul used the word “given” or “greedy of filthy lucre”. This is a description of one, rich or poor, whose one interest in life seems to be the accumulation of wealth, even if he must obtain it through dishonesty or by unethical means.
In Titus 1:7 the apostle writes, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed…” The Greek word used here is authade which is defined by Thayer as meaning, “self-pleasing, self-willed, and arrogant”. This denotes one who, dominated by self-interest and inconsiderate of others, arrogantly asserts his own will. The self-willed person places his judgment ahead of his associates. Such a man should not be in the eldership. An elder should be considerate of the rights, feelings and needs of others. He should be easily approached and easily entreated. This does not mean that he is not to be firm and uncompromising, but he is not to be of such a stubborn spirit that he clings to his own will and refuses to listen to reason or facts.
In the Titus list another negative qualification immediately follows – “not soon angry” (Tit. 1:7). A man must govern his temper at all times and in all places if he is to serve as an elder. This is another Christian qualification and should be especially characteristic of an elder. A man who easily loses his temper will make rash statements resulting in many enemies for himself and for the church. He becomes a stumbling block to the weak and a hindrance to the lost. Solomon wrote, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly… He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly” (Prov. 14:17, 29). Pressures often come in our daily lives, but an elder has proven his ability to cope, to adjust, and to deal with them in a calm manner. If he has not developed such a character how can he handle the pressures of the eldership? The eldership is for cool and calm minds – not for hot heads who possess a fiery and uncontrollable temper.
The last qualification we notice (not last in the list or importance) is found in 1 Timothy 3:6, “Not a novice…” Thayer defines the Greek term neophutos as “newly-planted, a new convert.” A novice lacks the experience necessary for the eldership. Such a person could not perform effectively the weighty responsibilities that elders have. An elder is to be seasoned, experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated. Inspiration states the reason a novice cannot be an elder. “…lest being lifted up with pride he falls into the condemnation of the devil.”
Richard Harp, Enduring Words, Vol. 2, Issue 9, September 1983