What It Means For Leaders To Be “Not Quick Tempered”
Last week I had the privilege of writing an article for other pastors regarding Paul’s statement that an overseer (Pastor/Elder) must be … “not quick tempered” in Titus 1:7. I think the article might be helpful for you as well, whether you’re a leader or would simply appreciate a glimpse into one of the struggles pastors face so as to better pray for us. By the way, letting us know that you’re praying for us is the best gift you could give us this month (Pastor Appreciation Month).
As pastors, we’re given a lot of authority. We are used to telling people what to do in the pulpit AND in the pew. We are looked to for wisdom and guidance. With this calling typically comes a great deal of respect and appreciation. We may not feel like this is true (I remember years ago listening to an incredibly beloved pastor whining about how no one appreciated him), but it almost certainly is. And while honor can and should be bestowed (at least to some degree) upon the faithful overseer of God’s household (1 Tim 5:17), there are liabilities pastors must be aware of.
One such liability that exists when a servant is shown the honor of a master, is that we can quickly forget our place. We can forget that we are but lowly servants called to humbly reflect all honor to the one deserving of all honor: Jesus. Instead, we often receive the honor into ourselves which creates an appetite in us for more. We then become proud and will then be motivated by the prospect of receiving more respect and more accolades. And when we are operating from a place such as this, you can be sure that we will be quick tempered when we are not receiving the respect that we’ve come to know and love. And this quick-temperedness will devastate relationships and eventually ministry. Obviously, we don’t want this to happen. So how do we become people who are not quick tempered?
First, we must work and pray toward God helping us remove our sense of entitlement. If we’re honest, there’s myriad things in life we believe we deserve, specifically total respect at home and in the church. But this sense of entitlement flies in the face of the Gospel of which we preach. Hopefully, we’re busy every week preparing lessons or sermons centered around the fact that we deserve nothing. Well, nothing except for death. Thus, we let go of our “rights”, especially our supposed right to be respected, and just as our Master did, we take the form of a servant who serves without expectation (except for the expectation that there will be suffering).
Second, rather than being quick tempered, we become quick to offer grace, mercy, and forgiveness, because that’s exactly what we’ve received and continue to receive every day. We must remind ourselves and celebrate this truth daily. This is simply the other side of the same gospel coin of which I just spoke.
Last, we become “not quick tempered” when in addition to the gospel, we acknowledge that we are simply managing “God’s household”. Both the church and our family ultimately belong to the Lord. So not only should we not feel entitled, but we should feel a strong urgency to treat God’s household the way that God treats it. And we know that He is gracious and kind. In fact, 1 John 4:8 says that He is love and we know that love is not easily angered (1 Cor 13:5).
Of course these things are easier said than done. But this must be our aim if we are to be obedient and if we hope to see fruit at home and in ministry. Brothers, seek to be “not quick tempered” as you faithfully oversee God’s household. May the Lord bless you!
What a great God we serve!