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Tomorrow's Shepherds today - Control

Leaders of God’s flock must have control over several aspects of their lives. If he is unable to control his emotions and impulses, he will react in a way that damaging to the cause of Christ and to the body. Paul gives no less than four aspects in which the shepherd needs to be controlled in his life. Aspect number one: he is to control his temper (Titus 1:7). It has been said that the inability to control one’s temper would mean that the “man is no fit candidate for the shepherding role nor is the man who aims to ‘win by intimidation.’ Rather a self-controlled shepherd is one who absorbs hostility, keeps his cool under attack, and returns good for evil” (Anderson 161).

Sadly, members can at times criticize and question their leaders. Therefore, it is crucial that the elder be able to control his emotions. Aspect number two: he is to be disciplined (Titus 1:8). Disciplined particularly in the realm of controlling one’s impulses and desires. All people have desires. Giving into those desires is what leads to sin (James 1:14-15). Since the elder is supposed to be holy and upright, he especially needs to be master over his impulses and not he other way around. Aspect number three: he is to have control over a desire for money (1 Timothy 3:3).

Later in the same letter, Paul would say that “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (6:10). As was discussed earlier in the “Character” section, the overseers will have access to the congregation’s funds; thus, a love of money could be a major issue. Aspect number four: he is to have control over his vices (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7). Paul mentions specifically speaks of being addicted to wine, but the same principle would apply today to any substance. Such addictions can distract from the work of God and could lead to further sin. Such impairments could cause one to act in a way that gives others cause to speak poorly of them, hindering the cause of Christ.

Some of the previous training mentioned would certainly be applicable here. Evaluating one’s priorities and finances, particularly with regard to giving, would help understand if there is a love of money present. If there is a love of money at a young age, which can often be the case as young men are striving to be successful, there is nothing to suggest there will not be that love when they get older. Teaching on money management is also a good way to help prevent the possibility of falling into financial need. Further teaching on the purpose of our money, to do good with it, both personally and congregationally. A love of money can prevent individuals and churches from using resources to glorify God.

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