The Daily Office | March 14, 2018
Psalms 71, 72
Exodus (31) 32
Psalms 73, 74
Exodus 33, 34
1 Timothy 3
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 3 is a passage often used for discerning and qualifying leaders in ministry. It's a passage I've had to study and reflect on as a candidate for ordination, and one I continue to come back to in personal examination as a pastor and leader in the church.
It doesn't, however, hold exclusively for leaders - it ought to be taken into consideration by all who call themselves Christians. These are qualities of a person who is walking faithfully and earnestly seeking God, and certainly pastors shouldn't be the only ones, right?
Most interesting is the very first qualification: must be above reproach. Even the perception of impropriety can be damaging to a person's witness to others. In college ministry, we took this really seriously. It doesn't matter if you slept on the sofa, if you're walking out of your girlfriend's apartment at 7:30am to go to class, it looks bad and is perceived by others in a way that damages your witness as a leader.
There's a saying that "perception is reality" - that someone's perception of you is their reality of you. No one will know you fully, and so the "you" that you present is the only "you" that they'll know. That is why being above reproach is so important.
Practically, reflect on your life, your behaviors, your habits, your standards. What in your life might be meet the above reproach standard? Is there anything questionable that you watch on television, or at the movies, or listen to on the radio, or scroll through on the internet?
A friend of mine last year was convicted of his watching the HBO show Game of Thrones; so despite being a fan since the early days of the books, he gave up watching it to live above reproach. Consider what might be questionable in your life today.