It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3:1-7
When we think about what society says a man should be we have an idea of what a typical man looks like. Society tells us that man should be strong, good looking, successful, have a nice career, drive a nice vehicle, and have a great house. These things that society says man should be are all things that are outwardly focused. These things have nothing to do with the character of the man. Paul lists ten different characteristics that are all inwardly focused traits. These traits deal with the heart of man. Paul states that pastors should be temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, gentle, peaceable, and free from the love of money.
Being temperate means that one shows self-control. Many of these characteristics deal with self-control. When you do not have self-control you are going to have a hard time controlling your emotions. This can be bad in difficult situations. You have to learn to control your emotions that are healthy.
Proverbs 15:5 states that a person that despises his father’s instruction is a fool, but he who listens to wisdom is prudent. Listening to wisdom from your elders is a great way to learn and grow as a man. One day it will be your responsibility to pass on wisdom and instruction to another person. Listening to wise council can only be done when the man is not conceited.
When you are respectable you are regarded by society as good, proper, or correct. It does not say anything about society regarding the way you look or how much money you have, but it says a lot about who you are on the inside. You see men walking around using foul language, young men with their pants down, or just general disregard for other people in society.
Men should be able to teach. We know that iron sharpens iron. Men should be willing to take a mentor under their wings and guide them and teach them a new skill. This can only be done when man is willing to share his life with someone else. Being able to teach also only can be done with man being willing to learn himself. If the man is so conceited he is not going to pay attention to what others are telling him and will not be able to teach others. Man should have a mentor but also have a mentee. Learning is a lifelong process and we need to be willing to teach the next generation.
The next characteristic is not addicted to wine. Society has made drinking alcohol such a wonderful looking thing. The problem is alcohol can lead to destruction. We are given many warnings in Proverbs about alcohol. Proverbs 20:1 says that wine mocks the drinker. Proverbs 23:29 says wine rewards man with sorrow. Verse 32 says that wine bites like a snake. Paul stated many times that people should avoid being slaves to the drink. It goes back to self-control and being able to control your actions.
Gentle and peaceable are contrary to what society says. Society has said that man should be strong and powerful. When you are gentle you are mild in temperament. Being kind does nothing to take away from being strong. One can still be strong and powerful while remaining gentle and peaceable. Looking back over history we see many strong, powerful, and influential men that were gentle and peaceable such as Martin Luther King or Jimmy Carter.
Man should be free from the love of money. Again society says that man should be successful and have everything that comes with success. It is fine to be successful but there are other things in life that are more important than money. Our focus must be on God first. This will allow us to have the proper focus. Then our focus must be on our families. The man should be the spiritual leaders of the family. Part of focusing on your family should be to work hard and provide for their needs. This is different from having a love for money.
If men focus on these characteristics they will have characteristics that are godly and cause them to be respected by their family and the community. It also puts their focus on God. Let’s be men that are focused on God and living lives that are honorable.