Leaders take responsibility — not for helping themselves and climbing their way up the ladder, but for helping others get what they need. Simply put, leaders take care of others.
Here’s three areas to consider:
a.) Take care of those closest to you.
(1 Tim 5:8) If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
When we hear these words today, we typically of think a deadbeat dad not providing for his wife and kids. Paul’s words certainly apply to this situation, but in the context of this chapter, he is referring to children not caring for their parents, and brothers not caring for sisters. In the Greek, the phrase literally says, “for his own,” and could also mean close friends and servants.
Paul is telling us to look out for those closest to us. If you have means and someone close to you is in need, you don’t have to sit around a long time wondering what God wants you to do. If you can help, he wants you to help.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17)
b.) Take care of those who can’t take care of themselves.
(1 Tim 5:16) If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
His point was there should be a system in place to look out for those who have no one looking out for them, to make sure everyone is covered.
Churches have opportunities to help lots and lots of people every week. People are often calling the office asking for help with this and that. Churches need to practice discernment, because many times these needs are self-inflicted: they don’t have money for rent because they spent it eating in restaurants and going to movies — or, worse, they spent it on alcohol and drugs. It would be wrong for us to enable this kind of self-destructive behavior.
It is equally wrong to turn our back on people who are in a desperate situation and need help getting through it. That’s why we must practice wisdom and discernment.
c.) Take care of those who take care of you.
(1 Tim 5:17) The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Did you know what is the biggest cause of burnout in the ministry? It’s not the hours. And it’s not the pay. It’s the lack of appreciation. I’m one of the lucky ones, because I get lots of encouraging feedback, but I know many who serve in the church faithfully week after week, preparing Sunday School lessons, practicing their instrument, learning new music, coming up with activities for kids, taking off work to go to a youth event … and they never receive the honor due them.
I’ve heard people say, “Well, they shouldn’t be doing it just for the recognition.” Point taken. But if you’re on the receiving end of their ministry, you have a responsibility to express your gratitude and to show honor to those who serve.
One mark of a mature believer is the ability to appreciate what others do, and the ability to show it.