24th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 19th September 2023 – 1 Tim 3,1-13; Gospel: Lk 7,11-17
The first reading expresses requirements for two different levels of church leadership. These are men, who are placed in high leadership positions within the church. The first are “elders” also known as pastors, bishops, or overseers (1 Tim 5,17; 1 Pet 5,1; Eph 4,11). These men are to be experienced Christians, respectable, capable teachers, with a good reputation and a well-ordered family life. The second group are “servants”, or deacons, (Acts 6,2.4) who share many of the same expectations of the elders. However, unlike elders, deacons are not necessarily called on to teach. They are expected to be “tested” prior to taking on their role. The focus here is on the character sketch of the person, rather than the position. Authority and ministry in the community are always seen in terms of service rather than control. As 1 Pet 5,2 states, church leaders are to be those who help others “not under compulsion, but willingly.” However, those who desire it desire a good thing. Two Greek words for aspire/desire are used here. The first is oregetai, emphasizing an internal or private desire. The other is epithymei, emphasizing an external or overt desire.