May 25, 2018 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop [elder], he desires a good work” (I Timothy 3:1).

I was reading an old Good News article that spurred some thoughts in my mind. Any individual who seeks the office of an elder should seek it for the right reasons. Being a loyal, faithful and humble servant is necessary for anyone who wants to lead God’s people. I remember a man several years ago who desired an office so badly he broadcast his desires repeatedly to several members of the congregation. However, he was not ordained to the office he sought and began to develop a “root of bitterness” as a result. He felt he had been unfairly overlooked.

As we realize, being “overlooked” is not the only reason a root of bitterness can happen. Bitterness can begin through any number of perceived wrongs, whether those wrongs are real or imagined. “Who does he think he is?” “What gives him the right?” “It’s not fair.” Those sentences often indicate feelings of resentment, hurt, or even anger.

We’re admonished in the book of Hebrews to… “Make sure that everyone has kindness from God so that bitterness doesn’t take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many of you” (Hebrews 12:15 – GWT). A person’s bitterness doesn’t punish the individual who caused the offense. It only hurts the person who has it. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31)  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (32)  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).

Brethren, God is concerned with all of humanity (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9). He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Think about the level of concern He has for each of us who have been called at this time and have received the knowledge of the TRUTH. Jesus Christ and the Father want each of us to BUILD the spiritual Family, to be ONE just as they are. “I won’t be in the world much longer, but they are in the world, and I’m coming back to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me, so that their unity may be like ours” (John 17:11 – GWT). That’s how God continually thinks!

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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