1 Chronicles 2:1–55; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Psalm 75:1–76:12
In Paul’s qualifications for overseers, he mentions a necessary trait for anyone who wants to lead in a community: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:4–5).
Though Paul speaks to overseers, his words tell us something about our own witness. Living like Christ, showing grace, and acting with wisdom toward the people who are closest to us are often more difficult than serving on a larger scale. It’s more challenging to serve those who know our failings than it is to serve anyone else. By learning to be faithful in these relationships—by serving unselfishly and with dignity—we prove ourselves capable of serving others.
Paul understands that humility and love must be practiced at home before they can be adequately practiced in community. By extension, allowing ourselves to live an imbalanced or ungodly life will ultimately lessen our effectiveness elsewhere.
It’s easy to take the people closest to us for granted—to see them as facets of our own lives, helping us accomplish our own goals. Guiding these relationships takes maturity. And the fruits of those relationships will prove our ability to influence the lives of others.
Paul acknowledges that the desire to be a leader is a noble one. He isn’t trying to dissuade those who want to take on more responsibility; instead, he is trying to ensure that they’re adequately prepared and not prone to a major public meltdown. He is preparing them to succeed at an honorable task.