The authority of character…



Titus 1:5 I (Paul) left you (Titus) behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: 6 someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. 7 For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; 8 but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9 He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.

Here Paul describes qualifications for “elders” and “a bishop”. It’s likely these terms meant something a bit different than they do in today’s church, but it’s clear these people were leaders of Christians. What jumps out at me this morning is the nature of the qualifications mentioned by Paul. There is little here dealing with competencies – being able to do certain things. Mostly the qualifications are related to character: who a person is.

A leader that comes to my mind as I read this passage is Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I don’t mean to suggest she did not have competency as she most certainly did. But she comes to mind because of the informal authority she carried in the church and around the world. She began as a simple nun, a servant of the Lord and advocate for the poorest of the poor. As a nun she had little formal authority, yet bishops and presidents would defer to her. Her person, her character, spoke volumes.

I’ll certainly never to like Mother Teresa, or Titus, but I want to be a leader whose greatest qualities are those of character. I have a ways to go.

Lord Jesus, by your Spirit do a work in me and in the lives of those who read this blog post. Bring our lives into alignment with your character and your will, so that we might serve you well. Amen.

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