January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

- Matthew 6:1

For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

- 1 Timothy 3:13

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor...

- 1 Timothy 5.17

I have generally been averse to self-aggrandizement, ego-stroking, glad-handing and the usual accoutrements that seem to be associated with manipulating people for the sake of one's own reputation or insecurities. As I have confessed to you before, I don't tend to wait around for people to pat me on the back. After all, Jesus warned about doing things in order to be seen, to be admired, etc.

But, there is another edge to that sword. As my loving and observant wife has shared with others on several occasions, "Don't wait in line for Bob to pat you on the back." I used to think there was goodness in that. After all, I don't want to have an atmosphere where we have to constantly inflate each other's leaky ego balloons. Jesus is worth our faithfulness. According to Colossians 3:22-23, even our common labor is to be done for the pleasure of God and not to please people, right? Isn't that true? But, how am I to embrace 1 Timothy 3:13 and 1 Timothy 5:17 into that?

This past year, I told the elders that I have done a poor job of honoring them and honoring our deacons and deaconesses. I would like to help cultivate a better atmosphere that appreciates their many efforts and honors them. So, this Sunday, we are doing something that is a shade different, but intentional. Let me explain.

At the beginning of the year, the elders sign the doctrinal statement and church covenant in front of the congregation as a reaffirmation of our commitment to defend and promote our beliefs and to take our promise to live this out seriously. This year, we are asking our deacons and deaconesses to join us in publicly signing the church covenant. Their ministries, many of which are behind the scenes, have a direct impact on protecting the unity of our church and advancing the gospel. Our deacons and deaconesses are serving us and helping us accomplish our God-given mission. This is good for them to be reminded of and good for us to acknowledge, so that we can pray for them and encourage them. And it is fitting. After all, on this Sunday (January 12, 2020) when we celebrate the paying off of our building debt and renew our commitment to our vision and mission, we should be reminded that we have been served well by many deacons and deaconesses on our finance teams through the years who have helped our budgets and managed our funds with competency and character.

Honoring Him by honoring them,