|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
Is Wanting the Same as Getting?
Ernest S. Underwood
Did you ever want something with such a desire that you could hardly think of anything else? Did you always get everything you wanted? The Bible tells us of a man who stated that whatever he wanted was not withheld from him. If you are a Bible student, you know this man was Solomon. Yet, in all that he had, he did not find happiness.
Now a big question. Do you want to go to Heaven when this life is over? There is a song we used to sing where I grew up. Part of it stated, “…when the saints go marching in; Lord, I want to be in that number…” Only a fool would not want to go to Heaven. However, just wanting it does not give assurance that it will be a reality. Jesus gave a plain and simple answer to the question of who will be in the heavenly kingdom. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV). The fact remains that just wanting to go to Heaven will not get us there. Some of us are old enough to remember the lyrics of an old spiritual that said, “Everybody talkin’ about it, ain’t gonna be going there…” Do you want to go to Heaven? I mean, do you really want to go to Heaven? If so, you had better become a student of God’s Word and obey it.
Elders Must Know
Mark T. Tonkery
There are some things that an elder must know about himself, as well as knowing what the Bible teaches so he can be an effective elder. The Bible tells us the follow things that an elder must know.
An elder must know himself. First Timothy 3, Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5:1-5 all teach that an elder must know himself. He must know how he relates to his wife, to his children and to the people in his community, as well as to the Christians in the congregation where he serves. An elder must show he is able to manage his life well by being mature in the faith (Hebrews 5:12-14). A man who is considered qualified for the position of elder needs to have spent time with his wife and family, and he continues to do so. Elders are men who lead their families in Christ and have managed them well; this is the main training ground for a man to be an elder. If a man cannot lead his family to Christ or manage them well, how can he expect to lead the lost to the Lord or to manage the local church?
An elder must know the congregation in such a way that the elders move the congregation forward and closer to God. As has already been stated, the family is the training ground for one to be an elder. By learning to build good relationships in his home, he will be able to build relationships with the people in the congregation. This will help the eldership to better lead the congregation. As relationships are being built within the congregation, the elders can know the “pulse” of the congregation so they can better meet the congregation’s needs. This will help the elders to know how to move the congregation forward spiritually and help them to set goals to help the congregation to mature in Christ. The elders need to help the congregation to stay focused on the goal of Heaven and to help others get there as well (Philippians 3:12). This is the idea of being a shepherd, knowing the congregation and helping them get to Heaven (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:17-30).
An elder must know how to be a servant. Jesus said anyone who wants to lead must be a servant (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:14-15). A servant is a person who has the go first attitude, as Jesus modeled in His life. By this, a leader needs to do the jobs that no one else is willing to do and to teach others how to do them (Ephesians 4:11-16). Elders need to also encourage others to be servants and to be faithful to the cause of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The Bible tells us that elders are helped by deacons who assist with many aspects of serving the congregation. Elders also need to set the example for others to follow in word and in deed (Colossians 3:17). By being a servant, an elder shows the congregation what it must do as well in the service of Christ.
Elders must know how to rest. Jesus also showed that as a leader one needs to take time to rest and pray (Mark 1:35; 6:31, 6:46). Elders must know themselves to the point that they know how much stress they can handle and realize the time to stop and to rest. Elders who serve best take time to read their Bibles, focus on spiritual matters in prayer and take time to relax – doing things that are enjoyable. Too many godly elders have failed the church and themselves because they did not know themselves well enough to stop and rest.
[Editor’s Note: Elders (as well as all other Christians) face many challenges, including introspection and ongoing personal development (1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]