Posted by: watchman | August 6, 2009

First Timothy 3: Integrity and Hospitality

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable,”

-Tim 3:2 (TNIV)

Paul continues his list of things that characterize the life of a leader. He states that they should be “respectable and hospitable.”

Now it seems like the last thing I have ever been in my life is “respectable,” which sounds like another word for “old.” And it seems like early church leaders received their share of disrespect. So, what does Paul mean?

Phil Towner says in his commentary that Paul is speaking of a harmony between a leaders internal life and his outward actions. To me this sounds more like “integrity” than respectability. The Greek word hear literally means modesty and balance. But it is a strange word (kosmion). It is derived from the Greek word for universe kosmos. Plato used it. It seems to mean “orderly, like the Universe.” The ideas of balance and order are present in this word.

The leader is to be respectable, then, in the sense that he is to lead a life of balance and integrity.

The leader should also be hospitable. Peter repeats this admonition here.

The leader is also supposed to be hospitable. The Greek word that Paul uses here is a simple combination of 2 words – “philos” (fondness or love) and “xenos” (stranger or foreigner) – “philoxenos.” The leader should have a fondness for entertaining guests.

I would be useless and lost without my wife, no doubt about it. One of the many areas where she makes me a better person and a better minister is in her hospitality. If you have ever come to our house and felt warm or welcome, it was because of my wife.

It is essential for a leader to have the first quality I mentioned in this post (integrity) because the leader is mandated to maintain the second quality (openness to hosting guests). If a person comes into your home and is able to see a life that is unbalance to the life that you claim to lead, there will be a problem.

It is a sad thing that this is not more valued in the church today. Transparency and openness are treacherous roads to go down in an atmosphere dominated by judgmental Pharisees. As a leader, I am very cautious to have people over to my house. People can be real jerks. they will judge you for everything -what is in your fridge to how long your grass is.

I would hope that people would be more gracious, so their leaders can be more open and hospitable.

How about you? Do you know of a person that embodies these qualities. They maintain integrity, and are also fond of others visiting their home and life. Know anybody like that?


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