Circuit Winkel 3 (1 Timothy 3)
- Order of Service: Divine Service 4
- Hymns: LSB #567
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
“If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” Proclaiming God's Word is definitely a noble task. A task that benefits both in this life and the next. However, it is also many times a thankless task. We've seen this, brothers, in our own ministries and hearts. We've seen it in the ministries of those around us. Although it is a noble task, the office of the public ministry takes it's toll on those in it.
No, this isn't a resignation sermon. It's a reality check. We look back to words we all heard at our ordinations and probably also at our installations. The qualifications for the pastoral office. That checklist St. Paul gives twice so that Sts. Timothy and Titus know what kind of men to look for as they appointed pastors in the various congregations. The preliminary list that the seminaries look at when they approve men to receive calls.
The noble task of the pastor is to proclaim God's Word. Dr. Rast's LWML Sunday sermon is based off another text we hear at ordinations and installations: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” There is a season for the Word. There is an off-season for the Word. While we joke about Jesus going to the lake in the summer, every weekday is truly the world's off-season for the Word. The world wants to compartmentalize religion, especially Christianity, into the one hour on Sunday morning. But the pastor is called to proclaim 24/7/365.
But this proclamation is not ours alone. The most noble part of the pastor's task is his preparation of the people to also proclaim God's Word. Helping them to see that Jesus crucified for the sins of the world is the most important message they can ever know. This training and preparation is why we spend so much time in our studies. Reviewing the Greek and Hebrew texts. Consulting the commentaries. Finding a way to bring God's Word to the people in a way that they can understand and share.
As St. Paul goes on to describe the man who is able to fill the office of pastor, we find that we fall well short. Different areas for different people, but we know that we don't measure up. Our congregations know that we don't measure up. We are sinners leading other sinners to the cross. Where the one Man who can fulfill the entire office was crucified. Offered Himself for all of us. Pastor and people alike.
Christ is the Word Incarnate, but He is also the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. He was sent to bring God's Word to the people. He preached so that people would understand. He ministered so that people would tell others about Him. And He has called each of us to do the same. To minister to His people and thus fulfill the noble task of bringing life and light to a soul darkened by sin. To make an impact not just for this morning or today. An impact for this life and the life everlasting. Amen.