We have been taking a bit of time to look at the requirements for eldership; in Biblically based churches elders are appointed by pastors, and pastors should not appoint them quickly but rather look at their lifestyle and make an accurate and wise decision. The list of requirements for an elder is listed in 1 Tim 3, and we are looking at each requirement in turn.
The next requirement for an elder according to Paul when writing to Timothy (1 Tim. 3.2) is that an elder must be vigilant.
The Greek word is naphelious, meaning not given to excess of drinking alcohol. I don’t believe that this means never drinking, but I do think that every Christian, especially those in leadership, need to be very careful about their relationship with alcoholic drinks. Firstly, because being drunk leads to what the King James called excess, but what in the original Greek means “asotia” which means decisions of poor character that cannot be undone. That’s a simple fact – drink too much and you will make bad decisions, decisions that cannot be undone. And when you are in leadership, your decisions affect people.
Every attitude you have infects people. Every stupid decision you make affects people. So, one of the keys to leadership is to keep control of your heart and mind. Of course not drinking alcohol to excess is one way of doing this, but you have to guard your heart on every level against being offended, being upset, being angry, being lustful. If you are in leadership, don’t get drunk – and don’t engage in “drunk” behaviour!
It’s a simple lesson today, but a really important one. I almost passed it over as I think it’s sort of self-explanatory and unnecessary to expound on, but then I read last night about a pastor I know who has just been arrested for drink-driving and I realize that all it takes is a couple of drinks for your judgement to be impaired enough to drink a couple more, then you don’t know where you might end up or the poor decisions you might make. Now a whole church is going to have to deal with the consequences of his poor decisions, made because he wasn’t vigilant.
Leaders – be VIGILANT. Be careful. Don’t be given to excess!