I left you behind in Crete for this reason, that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious
Paul’s mandate to Titus. I left you behind …to put in order what needs to be done to find the right leaders for Christ’s emerging church. Commendable as the list of standards for appointment to the Eldership is, what strikes me is that there is no room for manoeuvre. There are a number of passages in Paul’s letters which give similar requirements and I have heard Elders today say ‘so what am I doing as an Elder if that is the standard?’
But what this reminded me of more than anything is that tendency in many of us to want to control, whether that is in our church life, our home life or our work life. We have been doing a task for some time, we have had responsibility for some event and there is a suggestion that it is time someone else took on the task, do the organising. Our reaction is to think that ‘they’ will not do it like we did – the implication being ‘they’ will not do it as well as we did. It is true that someone else is unlikely to do whatever it is like we did it but, given the opportunity, they may not just do it differently they may even do it better!
When God calls us to his tasks he doesn’t give us detailed instructions, he challenges us to work with him through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fulfil that task. He trusts us to use all our life experience and some of that may include experiences of which we are not proud, to enable us to give Him the glory as we serve him.
If God can trust us then surely we should be able to trust each other.
Gracious God, we confess that we can be arrogant enough to think we are the only ones with the ability to undertake the tasks you set us. We thank you for your trust in us and ask that we may have the same trust in others so that everyone, using their whole life experience, may serve you in all they do. Amen
Val Morrison is an elder in Hall Gate URC, Doncaster and a former Moderator of General Assembly
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