Read 1 Timothy 5:17 – 6:2a.
“Do not muzzle the ox” (1 Timothy 5:17-20).
Paul warned against taking advantage of leaders in two distinct ways. First, those in full time ministry deserve to be supported financially – and not grudgingly so. And second, unsubstantiated rumours and accusations against leaders are to be ignored and activily discouraged. Leaders are particularly vulnerable to rumour and to false accusation and often do not have the opportunity to respond.
Paul’s next saying, “Those who sin are rebuked publicly,” has a double reference. A leader who sins must not be allowed to hide behind his or her position. And a person who brings a false accusation must also be publicly rebuked. Only by such absolute fairness can the purity of the church be maintained.
“The sins of some men are obvious…..” (verse 24). It is a big mistake to quickly promote a new Christian, or a newcomer to the local congregation as a leader. Paul made the reason very clear. Some people’s sins are obvious, but the sins of others “trail behind them” (verse 24). We don’t recognise their flaws until they have been around for a while. In the same way, the good deeds of some are obvious – but many outstanding qualities of others are only recognised after a period of time.
Paul’s principle can be applied in any relationship where some sort of commitment is involved. For instance, don’t go into partnership with someone you do not know very well. Also, don’t get married in a hurry. The flaws in that boy or girl (man or woman) who look so good now may take a while to catch up with them. Given time, you may find that some pleasant but unspectacular person has just the qualities you want in a spouse.
Have a great day,