Timothy was one of the converts that came to know the Lord under Paul’s ministry. Timothy became not only a strong Christian, but he eventually became a pastor.
Timothy must have written to Paul one day and asked, “Paul, if someone wants to be a leader in the church, what do you have to do? What are the prerequisites of Church leadership?”
Paul responded to Timothy in a letter, the first of two that became known as “First and Second Timothy.” Here was Paul’s answer:
“It is a great trustworthy statement: if any man [or woman] aspires to the office of an overseer [or a leader] it is a fine work he desires to do. A [leader,] then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or [a fighter], but gentle, uncontentious and free from the love of money” (1 Tim. 3:1-3).
Paul said that one of the most important prerequisites for a leader happens before ministry in the Church ever gets started. It must first happen in the home.
Helping Everyone But Family
Howard Hendricks has written a book called Heaven Help the Home. It says:
“The chief job of the home is conceived by God. It is to train family members to live fruitfully in their home, in the church and in their community. If someone cannot function in his own home, he has forfeited the privilege of leadership in the church.”
That’s an excellent assessment: if a person cannot function in his own home, then he has forfeited the privilege of leadership in his church. It just makes sense!
Here are three building blocks to becoming a leader in your home:
- I am developing wisdom
- I have prioritized my relationship with my spouse
- I am learning stewardship in my money
One of the building blocks in becoming a leader—whether in business or in your home—is wisdom.
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding, it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov. 24:3).
The Lord tells us it is by wisdom that a house is built. That’s clear; we all desire wisdom. But how do we go about instilling that in our homes?
There are step-by-step phases every leader must be sure are taken in their home. Each of these will help to build wisdom.
Phase One: Learning Right from Wrong
The Bible says that the Spirit of God is changing me “from glory to glory into His image by the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). So the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to change you and me into His image. However, when I compromise God’s Word and cannot figure out what is right and wrong, then I have actually put the Holy Spirit’s ministry in my life on hold.
This is the first phase to establish in our own lives and in our homes. Once your home is clear on what is right and what is wrong, you’re prepared to understand the next necessary stage of wisdom.
Phase Two: Know What is Wise and Unwise
It is no longer an issue of whether it is right or wrong. In leadership, we must graduate from that to stage two. And the key to success is to be able to discern this: is it wise or is it unwise?
There are many things you can do in your leadership, but the true test of my leadership is whether I’m making wise decisions.
One of your most important relationships on this earth, if you are married, is your relationship with your spouse. There is no other that is more important.
It is a wise leader in the home that will not even joke about divorce. It’s not even in your vocabulary, plain and simple. I am encouraging each of you to cut the word “divorce” out of your life as well. It’s not even something you want to talk about.
When you get married and say “I do,” you are accepting the whole person. That’s quite a commitment! Yet, so many people jump into that commitment without even considering that. Soon, they find out the other person’s weaknesses and they realize they are in no way able to withstand and support them through it or work it through.
A word of encouragement to parents: As you show your children that you are willing to submit to God’s Word and pray for your spouse, your children will begin to see that people change. Do not change the marriage contract. Change the people that are involved in the marriage contract! And then you will begin to see God’s blessings in your life.
“He who is faithful in the very little thing is faithful also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use [or stewardship] of unrighteousness mammon [or money], who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:10-11).
Did you know that the way you handle your money is a way to determine if God can give you true spiritual riches? It is a testing ground … kind of like a boot camp.
So when does your faithfulness begin? When you get the “much?” No! God’s principle is that faithfulness begins when you have very little.
When does God say you are ready for true spiritual riches? You are ready when you show god that you are faithful in the use of finances.
My suggestion for those who want to steward finances well is to get help. Go to financial seminars. It’s surprising how many people who have struggles with money never ask for help in that area.
Finance, family and wisdom — these three are so important in becoming a leader at home, your first ministry. And as you establish a sure, strong foundation there, your reach in ministry will go much further into the world. But it all starts in the home … succeed there and you can succeed anywhere.