Key verse: 1 Timothy 4:6
Big idea: The measure of a minister is faithfulness.
In college, I had a particular class that seemed like a total waste of time. The work was pointless but extremely time-consuming, a recipe for frustration. But there was one saving grace: because of the way the class was set up, everything was graded very strictly on a rubric. That meant that it was possible to tailor an essay to make a high grade, even if it was not any good. Format the title page correctly, include enough footnotes, hit the word count, make sure that your thesis is clear and suddenly you had an A. There are few areas in life where this kind of approach is a good idea, for obvious reasons. In fact, it is rare that our expectations are so specific, so we cannot ordinarily behave like that, even if we want to. But there is a sense in which we should consider what is expected of us and aim for that target. What will make this project a success? If your parents want you to clean your room and you waste a lot of time dusting the ceiling fan and washing the windows but never pick up your toys or make your bed, you may be tired, but you are probably still in trouble.
Paul gave Timothy a rubric: “If you ____, thou shalt be a good minister [servant] of Jesus Christ.” Simple! Check this box and you are on the right track. So what does God say will make us a good servant? Take a minute to seriously consider what you think. Not the answer you think you are supposed to give but what you instinctively think will please God. The answer may be surprising: remind the people of God’s Word. You are not a good servant if they listen or if you bring them to tears. You are not a good minister if you have a full altar call or a busy new member’s class. You are a good servant if you are faithful. The rubric is to do your job and let God handle the rest.
Discussion idea: Why do we overcomplicate success so much, even if we know better?
Prayer focus: Lord, help me to keep your Word in my mouth, faithful to share it with your people.