Qualifications Pt. 2
1 Timothy 3:8
As Paul was laying out his list of qualifications for deacons, he wanted what was best for the church. God no doubt had given to him the wisdom to know exactly the type of men that should lead the church. Without godly men, how would the church learn godliness? Without trustworthy men, how could the church move forward? Without men worthy of respect, why would the lost world give the church a second thought? They wouldn’t, so just as Paul laid out what it means for the pastor to be blameless, he now clarifies just how it is that the deacon would live out a life of reverence. First on his list was that the deacon must not be double-tongued. No, this isn’t some sci-fi reference to aliens or mutants. It simply means that deacons must never be guilty of telling people what they want to hear at the cost of the truth. It is never the right thing to do to tell one person one thing about a subject and something different to someone else. This one word covers a whole lot of ground from integrity to hypocrisy. Integrity is of the utmost importance for all Christians but especially so for Christian leaders. In an age where trust is hard to come by, it is even more important today. We must mean what we say and say what we mean all of the time. On the other extreme, hypocrisy is never pretty, and it must not be part of the character of the deacon. On a positive note, the word “double-tongued” reflects the concept of sincerity. The deacon must be sincere in his passion for the Lord and His church as he promotes and protects the peace and unity of the church. A deacon cannot do this if he isn’t able to control his speech.
Then, like the pastor, the deacon is not to be preoccupied with either alcohol or money. Paul says that he is not to be “given to much wine” or greedy. That means that he must always put the needs of the church ahead of his own desires. Like pastors, the deacons have great responsibilities and must never allow themselves to become incapacitated by the use of alcohol because he never knows when he will be needed. What could be worse than a benevolence need arise, but when the church member goes to the deacon, he is drunk? That is the essence of this dictate. As for money, the deacons were to operate the benevolence ministry of the church. If you remember what took place in the book of Acts, people were selling possessions and property and bringing the proceeds to the church to be distributed to those who had needs. Undoubtedly, this would place large sums of money at their fingertips. That is too much temptation for anyone who has a problem with greed. One commentator describes this prohibition as reminding the deacon that he must never use the office for financial gain. It would be very easy to “make deals” with people or to use their needs for personal advantage and that must never happen.
You see, this verse is all about personal integrity and outstanding character. Whether the deacons in your church are true servants or serve as directors, they are to be men worthy of respect.