November 4, 2016

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).

That’s a faithful scripture indeed! I was reading an old Good News article yesterday that spurred some thoughts on a particular subject. Any individual who seeks the office of an elder should seek it for the right reasons. Being a loyal, faithful and humble servant is absolutely necessary for anyone who wants to lead God’s people. I remember a person a number of years ago who desired a particular office so badly that he broadcast his desires to several members of the congregation. However, he was not ordained to the office he sought for many years, and he began to develop a “root of bitterness” over it. He thought he had been unfairly overlooked, and had a difficult time seeing his character flaw.

As we realize, “being overlooked” is not the sole reason for bitterness to begin. A root of bitterness can start through any number of perceived wrongs caused by others, 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). Bitterness doesn’t punish the person (or persons), who has (or have), caused an offense, but it’s very destructive to 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 about all of humanity (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9). He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). But, just think of the level of concern He has for each of us who have been called at this time, who have received the knowledge of the TRUTH. Jesus Christ and the Father want each of us to build the spiritual Family and 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).

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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