During our House Rules series, we have been studying 1 Timothy. On Sunday, we looked at the qualifications for elders. Incidentally, these qualifications are required of every follower of Jesus not just elders. So, this list is simply a reflection of what a gospel shaped life looks like. These are not moralistic achievements by good men. Rather, these are gospel shaped characteristics of humble, gospel men who love Jesus and seek Him.
Husband of One Wife
One of the qualifications of an elder is that he be the “husband of one wife” or literally “a one woman man”. An elder can not be involved in polygamy, adultery or have an addiction to pornography. He can’t be the guy that is flirting with women or relating to them inappropriately. While it doesn’t mean that a man would have to be married to be an elder, it does mean that a single man would have to exhibit sexual purity and faithfulness to Jesus.
Some understand this is to suggest that a divorced man can’t serve as an elder. While there may be reasons for a man who has been divorced should not serve as an elder (testimony in the community, etc.), this qualification alone does not bar a man who has been divorced from serving as an elder. Here’s why. First, the phrase has more to do with present marital faithfulness than past history. Second, If you take this qualification to mean that for the whole of a man’s life he would have to have been a one woman man, you have to do that with all of the qualifications. And, there is no man who has always exhibited these qualifications except the one who died on the Cross for sin.
So, what does this mean for me?
It means that God calls all married men (particularly those who aspire to the office of elder) to be one woman men. A man who knows how to love his wife faithfully and pursue her whole heartedly. Men, we are to live with our wives in an understanding way. We are to know them, to remain happy in them and to romance them until we are separated by death. We are to be one woman men – faithful, loving men.
Whenever I talk about this, here’s what I hear:
No Money – For some, this might be true. But, It doesn’t cost a lot of money to set aside time each week to engage your wife. Pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and listen to her. And for the record, if you have more than 15 channels on your TV, you have money. Cancel cable and date your wife. You’ll be glad you did.
Can’t find a babysitter – BULL…If you wanted to do this, you would figure it out. So, figure it out.
I don’t know how: OK…now we are getting somewhere.
- Here’s a book that will show you how to do this. It’s got a weekly checklist and a list of 100 ideas on how to do this. There are men in our church who can help you with this. Learn how to do this.
- We have google – google Romantic Dates in Charlotte and you get like 4 million hits. Pick one and do it.
Men, you figure out what you love. Figure this out.
Why is this such a big deal?
Have you seen the surge in divorces of people in their 50s? That’s not because of Facebook. It’s because men didn’t pursue their wives. Somewhere down the road, kids, bills, job, soccer and stuff got in the way of the romance of marriage that is supposed to be primary. As a guy who just turned 40, I don’t want to see any more Facebook status changes of my peers. I want to call out men to pursue their wives.
Men, I’ll close with this quote from Kevin DeYoung.
Be a man. Be a leader. Try to impress her. You managed to do it once, but chances are much of your impressiveness has worn off under the rough edges of career, laziness, and time. Men shouldn’t get married so they can stop pursuing women. We get married so we can perfect the pursuit with same woman over a lifetime. Don’t give up the chase gentlemen.