Young men, aspire to be elders.
1 Timothy 3:1, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.”
In the coming weeks, a lot of Christian college students will be moving into their dorms. Some will be headed out the door of mom and dad and into the dorm of someone they do not know. There will be lots of people who will be there to influence them. A lot of these same individuals may have the mission to sway these students who say with their mouth they love Jesus but has the church prepared them to acknowledge Him by their works?
The last four or five years, the youth pastor and other pastoral staff at their local churches have been taught a lot, but my question is what have we been urging them to become? Financially smart? Morally better people? Sexually pure? Relevant to the culture?
Now, these aren’t bad things to teach in youth, but in teaching these tips along with pouring in only a teaspoon of Gospel 1 hour a week, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Have we confused these students about biblical Christianity who are entering the University of Gomorrah this month?” In neglecting the teaching of the Word and separating students away from the church service have we made it easier for them to become deceived?
As a student coming into college I was seeking after worldly things. I sensed a call to ministry when I was a senior in high school, but I wanted to put that off until after college. So when I got to college, I wanted a degree that made me the most money. I wanted to date as many girls as I could until I found the right one. And I wanted to find something that could substitute as the church that made me feel good, something that acted like the church without the accountability. I did. I went into this initial route because I didn’t know that God had laid out in His Word the hope of being an elder. Because of men who God placed in my path, I began to see the need to pour my life into the local church. As I studied the Scriptures, I quickly found that becoming like Jesus was the goal and aspiring to be an elder was that noble task that every young man should strive towards.
I am here to tell young men: strive to meet these qualifications! Even if you are never appointed to be an elder or ordained to be a pastor, it will do you well to endeavor to be above reproach, to be faithful to your wife, be able to teach the Word, manage your household well, be peaceful, self-controlled, sound in faith, and obey the Lord as He sanctifies you. In addition to seeking the prior qualities being humble, and continuing to become more like Christ is to mark the lives of all of God’s people. If you do all these things as a church member and never reach eldership or the pastorate, what do you have to lose?
The outside world looking in should see young men who are growing to be devoted to God, striving toward holiness, living piously both behind closed doors and in the open. Growing up in the church I thought I was doing well because I avoided certain sins. Christian young men should be battling and avoid sin because we are devoted to God, and desire to be more like His Son. If we desire to live morally good lives without the Gospel, we won’t get far. But the amazing thing about the qualifications laid out in 1 Timothy 3 is that only men who are born-again can achieve and be sustained in those characteristics by God’s grace.
Regeneration starts a person on the hard trek of sanctification. And they will get to glory by the same One who replaced his heart of stone and gave them a new heart. Everyone longs to leave a legacy of significance in the lives of others. This desire is something a lot of young men coming into college and seminary crave after. If we truly want to attain something better than social status, hoards of stuff, or a name for our self, we will hold fast to the Word and God, resting in the sufficiency of Christ alone. We will also submit ourselves to the preaching of the Word in the local church and surround ourselves with noble, godly men who we can learn from. Finally, in the strength the Lord supplies, we will prepare our minds for action and aspire to become elders. Desire the noble task, young men, aspire to be an elder.
Taylor Cain is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University, Journalism(B.A), and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in Preaching and Pastoral Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the Director of Students and church member at Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. He is married to Callie Cain.