If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church? ~ I Timothy 3:5, HCSB

The verse above is part of Paul’s instructions to Timothy concerning the selection of overseers – that is, elders or bishops or whatever you want to call them. For the sake of clarity, I’m going to stick with a generic term: church leadership.

Paul cautioned Timothy not to allow the appointment of anyone into church leadership unless they were not only personally responsible, but also had a firm grip on their entire household. Boy, does this open an interesting can of worms!

But let’s look at the whole statement. Paul doesn’t say, "If anyone doesn’t manage his own household...." He says, "If anyone doesn’t know how...."

Big difference. How does a person "know how"? By reading and obeying the Word of God. A person who is ignorant of God’s Word is ignorant of how to manage his or her household.

So what does this mean? That the man rules the family with an iron fist? Absolutely not. The Bible clearly states that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25), so there’s no room for mistreatment or arrogance. Also, today’s families are often single-parent households, and the entire responsibility falls on the shoulders of one person.

So how is that person (or persons) to handle it? In my humble opinion, it means to do the very best you can to manage your time, your money and every other aspect of your home in a manner that is pleasing to Jesus.

Got a mortgage? Make sure it’s at the best possible interest rate, and make sure it's a home that isn’t too much expense for your income. Car payments? Sure, you need a decent car to get back and forth to work, but does everyone in the household really need his or her own vehicle? Plus, are you merely shoveling out money or are you preparing your children for the future by teaching them money management?

Do you pay your bills in a timely manner? Do you take pride in where you live, inside and out, keeping it neat, clean and well-maintained enough to make it a welcoming place for your spouse, your kids, your kids’ friends and any unexpected visitors?

It’s like this: Imagine a church member who can’t make it from payday to payday, yet is responsible for the church’s benevolence money. Imagine someone whose personal life includes unsavory vices like gambling, drinking and carousing -– is this who you’d want as your deacon? And what about someone who allows his children to stay out all hours or furnish their kids cigarettes or alcohol?

It’s one thing to have problems, but it’s another to have problems you are creating or standing by and nonchalantly allowing.

If you were asked to serve in your church, would your life management make you a shoo-in, an "iffy" candidate or a reject?


Judy Woodward Bates is a freelance writer, author, speaker and creator of Bargainomics, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy, and the author of "The Gospel Truth about Money Management." Visit her website at www.bargainomics.com.

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