Avoiding Partiality and Favoritism
Lord Jesus, please thrust Your living and active Word deep into my heart, past any resistance, so that I might meet with You now.
1 Timothy 5:17-6:2
Consider: There are two errors that are important to avoid in the life of a congregation: partiality and favoritism.
Paul now switches from widows to workers, discussing the church's responsibility to care for those who have been called into leadership. Again he is very practical, dealing with pay and conditions, discipline and ordination. Paul reminds Timothy that we all are prone to partiality or favoritism (21). It requires a special effort to resist these two tendencies that can corrupt congregational life.
The congregation is responsible for correction and discipline (19-20). The purpose of correction is to restore attitudes and behaviors back to God's standards. The present culture of individualism and personal rights has made this principle difficult to administer.
Leadership in the church is not exempt from scrutiny by the congregation (17-22). A "hasty" (22) congregation will move quickly to judgment. And abusive leaders will ignore the opinions of the congregation.
Communal living reveals an individual's lifestyle with clarity (24-25). A person can use a mask at his or her workplace, at school, or at the club. However, it is difficult to hide one's real self in community. The closeness and intensity of relationships reveal who a person is, but others keep a distance from church to avoid exposure.
As for Christian slaves (6:1-2), whoever their master, they should still serve as best they can. Indeed, working for a Christian should motivate them to work better (2), not take advantage and slack off. While systems may be unjust and rightly challenged, our calling still requires us to bear testimony to Christ and uphold God's name (1). Grumbling or idling at work never advances the cause of Christ.
How is discipline practiced in your family and in your church? How are material things handled in your family and in your church (18)?
Sovereign Lord, I pray for the leaders of my congregation. Give them wisdom and discernment as they deal with issues. But above all, keep them from the snares of the Evil One.