I have a question for you. On a scale of one to ten, how emotionally intelligent are you? I'm going to start today's program with a story of how my lack of emotional intelligence literally almost destroyed my ministry.
You don't want to miss it. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Drouin, and we're in the middle of our brand-new series, the book of 1 Timothy, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. Well, so far, Chip's highlighted four of Paul's important lessons to Timothy. And in this program, we're going to learn the fifth one that'll deal with how to interact with people in a godly way and what it means to step into tough conversations. Now, after the teaching, Chip will share some extra insight into what he's learned in this area, so be sure to stick around for that. Okay, turn in your Bibles now to 1 Timothy 5, and let's join Chip for his talk. Coaching tip number five from the Apostle Paul as he gives us some life coaching as he talked to that young man, Timothy, is that no amount of gift or brains can make up for a lack of emotional intelligence. One of the dangers of getting really clear, getting very focused, focusing, saying, this is what God wants me to do, is you can run over people on the journey. You can be insensitive to what's going on around you.
You can do the very right thing in the very wrong way or at the wrong time, and you can actually blow up what God wants to do. I have so many illustrations of how I've done this, I don't know where to begin, but I was a young pastor in the southern part of the country. It wasn't until I went to this church I realized that people in America still had a concept of the north and the south.
I mean, I didn't grow up in that world. You've heard of megachurches, this is what was called a mini church. They had about 35 people on a good Sunday. That was a different world. Guns in the back of pickup trucks, guys wearing John Deere hats, and when I would walk into the one and only restaurant at the time, they would whisper like this so that everyone could hear, hey, I think that's that new preacher boy. And so we started a little good news club at our house. It was a very kind of mixed neighborhood.
There was no zoning, and so it was just all kind of different houses that had been jammed together over a period of 50 years. And so there was black kids and Hispanic kids and white kids and my two. It was very, very exciting. Pretty soon this little good news club was almost as big as the church. And so I thought it behooves me to pile all of them in a van or two and take them out to our Wednesday night service of six people who usually showed up. And so my wife, who's not a great disciplinarian of our own kids, has like 12 kids of multi colors in the next room creating unbelievable chaos as I'm the new pastor teaching these six people on Wednesday night. I got a call the next couple days telling me that this is really not what we're looking for in our church. And in my zeal to be heard instead of to hear, in my zeal to make sure they understood instead of to start with understanding, I made all the assumptions that, you know, this bias, prejudice, racial, small town in the south that really, you know, and you know, so how could they?
And these kids, no one cares about them, but I care about them. Was there racism? Yes.
Was there bias? Yes. Had I built any trust? No. Was I arrogant and zealous? Yes.
Did I assume that all the problem was the color of the kids instead of the fact that we could hear them bouncing off the walls in the next room? Yes. And I'll never forget sitting in my driveway. He became a mentor and then to this day is a father figure. We've been close.
We talk or text every week for the last 39 years. And he sat in the driveway with me and listened and he said, Chip, I know you haven't lived in this part of the country and I want you to know that you're right. There certainly is bias and racism and prejudice. He said, but you know, sometimes you can win a battle and lose the war. So these people don't know you. They don't trust you. And if I can say it in the nicest way possible, how you went about trying to solve that problem created as much or more problems than the one you wanted to solve.
Young man, I am so for you. And there's such a bright future here. But you got to understand there's a nuance and there's a way to introduce the right things at the right time when there's trust built. You don't know these people.
And until you build some bridges with them, you're probably not going to hear. Some of the people that, I mean, they were so angry when I brought those kids and talked to me about how the races don't mix in this part of the country. I remember a guy that was as hardened. He was an amazing cabinet maker. And I'll never forget watching Jerry with a little eight-year-old African-American boy, him teaching him and watching how God changed his heart. See, that older man knew emotional intelligence is the ability to relate to people in a way where you understand where they're coming from and how to do the right thing at the right time and the right way. Now, I like to say that because of that one lesson, I've just been very emotionally intelligent the rest of my life.
I have many more stories of where I've blown it, but I'm just going to let you sit on maybe a couple of your own. Because what the apostle Paul is going to now say to Timothy is, okay, I said you got to step up, right? Okay, okay, Paul, I'm in.
I'm in. Okay, but then you got to kneel down. You got to step down. You got to pray.
Okay. Long term, you got to develop character. Timothy, what you got to do is you got to, and it can't be about just preaching messages, you've got to develop leaders. The two things that every pastor needs to know that you can never delegate is the teaching of God's word. You're responsible for that and you have to develop leaders. Everything else, and then he says, by the way, you got to set an example.
You got to live this out. You've got to be godly. And then in chapter five, he's basically going to say, you know, Timothy, you're young and there's a way to relate to people that's going to allow this to be successful. Because like every church, I've gotten some reports. Some of the older people were a little concerned about you.
It seems like there's been a couple accusations about some false teachers, but also some elders. And what I want to do is I want to help you learn how to relate in the right way to all the kind of different people. So if you'll open up to first Timothy chapter five, let's continue Paul's coaching to Timothy, and then we'll talk about the application to us. First he's going to, first two verses he's going to say, look, Timothy, in general, here's how to relate to everybody in the church. Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father and to the younger men as brothers, to the older women as mothers, and to the younger women as sisters in all purity.
Do you hear what he's saying? He said, you know, Timothy, there's people that are older, there's men that you're going to do life with, there's the older women, and they have needs, and this is how you respect them. Be very careful at your age, the younger women, make sure you deal with them as sisters, not objects, and in all purity. And you know, there's some older men that, hey, there's issues that you need to deal with, don't harshly rebuke them.
That's not how you build a relationship, that's not how you address difficult issues. The early church was very hands-on, the apostles were serving food and bread and got overwhelmed, and then they assigned a leadership team, later many would think are called deacons. So now in this church, it's not just that you have preaching and teaching and discipling, there's a lot of really practical issues about, well, how do you handle the money and where are all the needs? And so one of the big ones was what do we do with widows? I mean, we're getting overwhelmed, we don't have enough money, who's a widow, who's a legitimate widow?
Here's what I want you to get. Think through what is this older man saying to this younger man about a number of delicate situations, because there's principles embedded about how to deal with some tricky stuff. And so he, verse three, honor, notice the word, honor widows and then who are actually widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to show proper respect for their own family and to give back compensation to their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. So honor widows that are really widows. Now notice that little phrase, who are actually widows, what's that require?
Discernment, hmm, evaluation. Make sure the responsibility goes to the right people. So now you've got a set of circumstances where I need to talk to someone's kids or grandkids and say, I know your father or grandfather died, but the way the church needs to work is you all need to take responsibility for that. That's not a church issue.
And then it goes on. Now she who is actually a widow and has been left alone and set her hope on God, and she continues and requests and prayers night and day, but she who indulges herself in luxury is dead even while she still lives. So he says here's how to discern between the widows that are actually widows that need the church's help and those that are sort of playing us, if you will. Give these instructions as well so that, notice he keeps coming back to this phrase, so that they may be above reproach. In the early church, they were condemned from every side by the government.
It was illegal to be a Christian by this time, by Judaism, by the number of mystery cults. And over and over through this, he's trying to help this young pastor say, let's live lives and let's do life in a way so we're above reproach, so the gospel's attractive. Give these instructions as well so they may be above reproach, but if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he's denied, are you ready for it, the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. So now he's setting down some guidelines. A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than 60 years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works, if she's brought up children, if she's shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she's assisted those in distress, and if she's devoted herself to every good work.
So apparently, as things were developing, it was, we just can't help everybody with any need. There are actual people, some think this might even be the birth of people who determined after their husband had died, I'm gonna commit myself and be in full-time Christian work, if you will. I'm sure that some sort of teaching over the years, probably this is where nuns and this idea that I'm gonna be devoted to God, because as you follow the text, notice what he says, but refuse to register younger widows for when they feel physical desires alienating them from Christ, they will want to get married, thereby incurring condemnation, because they've ignored their previous pledge.
I think we think of a widow as just someone who lost their husband. It seems like there's a category of these widows who say, you know what, in light of the ministry, I wanna be fully devoted, and I'm gonna make some sort of vow along those lines. At the same time, they also learn to be idle, speaking of those that are young and don't put them on the list too soon. Again, think of the principles, discernment, wisdom, emotional intelligence, thinking for the future.
And then he goes on to say, as they go around from house to house, not merely idle, but they also become gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger women to get married, have children, manage their households, and give the enemy no opportunity for reproach, for some have already turned away to follow Satan. If you wanna have some fun in 1 Timothy, read through it very fast, and every time it says drifted away, fallen away, turned away, go through it and underline that in some color. Then, if you wanna have a little bit more fun, read through it again very, very quickly, and any time it has anything to do with godliness, values, character, underline that in another color. And what you'll see is the themes through this book are very, very clear, and over through all the book, what he's gonna say is, Timothy, the big objective in life is this is the path, and what you wanna do is lead a group of people in such a way where how we live, and what we say, and what we do makes the gospel attractive.
Let's make sure we keep first things first. If any woman, verse 16, who is a believer has dependent widows, she must first assist them, and the church must not be burdened so that it may assist those who are actually widows. And then when a person is an elder, when a person is given this entrustment and responsibility, notice what he says. The elders who lead well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
For the scripture says you should not muzzle the ox while it's threshing and the labor is worthy of his wages. So make sure there's real respect to these people called to lead, and he kinda pulls out this proverb from, you know, about the ox and makes an application, and then he says be careful. Do not accept an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.
You gotta be really careful that you really listen to complaints, but you also have to be equally careful that you don't assume just because someone registers a complaint or makes an accusation that it's true. And then I love the balance of scripture. Then those who continue in sin, in other words, two or three witnesses said this elder's sleeping with so and so, or this elder is pilfering the money, or this elder's acting this way at church, but man, you should see him out in the marketplace.
And so two or three witnesses are saying no, this is true. Those who continue in sin, speaking of elders, rebuke in the presence of all so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. Think of emotional intelligence. Timothy, be tender and sensitive with older men, don't rebuke them. Timothy, with mothers, be tender and sensitive. Timothy, by the way, if people can take care of their own households and they're trying to mooch off the church, it's tough love.
Right? If, hey, someone makes an accusation against someone, sin, two or three witnesses, be discerning, get the facts, and by the way, if it's really true, go public, share it, right? So he's giving him this balancing of how do you do relationships in such a way that, again, twice we've heard about being above reproach. I solemnly exhort you, now Paul's gonna go into his tough love, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of his chosen angels to maintain these principles, how, without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
How would you like to be getting this letter? Anybody who's been in leadership, you realize you have people that are popular in the group, people that aren't popular, people that everyone kind of likes and respects and people that other people don't respect. You have people that are wealthier and people that aren't so wealthy. You have always sort of the kind of one or two people that kind of extra grace required. You have people that really power up and they have roles and responsibilities. And so as a leader, how do you execute what's the right thing to do at the right time in the right way in all those relationships? And then if you didn't get the message, I mean, could the bar get any higher? I solemnly exhort you.
Where? In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus. And I mean, he pulls out all the stops and all the chosen angels.
I mean, Tim's going, ooh. These principles that I've laid out about relationships, you do them without bias and you do them without partiality. You don't let, just because people have money or power or influence or gave to buy this or buy that, or they intimidate people. It's not what leaders do, Timothy. Then he gives him some warnings. Do not lay hands upon anyone too quickly and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others.
Keep yourself free from sin. You know, when you're overwhelmed in a job and you just, I mean, it's just hard to breathe and you can't do it all. If you've ever been in this situation as an employer or a supervisor, you need to hire someone. When you are desperate, it is the absolute worst time to hire someone. Because no matter what you tell yourself, you will settle and you'll hire someone that is a quick fix.
You get them in and here's what I can tell you. The wrong person in a role, whether it's in a church, a ministry, or a company, the wrong person is way worse than no one at all. And so what he's saying is, don't try and bail yourself out by finding someone and sticking them in the spot. And he's going to say why. I like verse 23. I'm not even sure why it's in here other than, you know what, I've been pretty hard on you. Let me just give you a little personal encouragement, right?
Timothy, don't go on drinking only water, but use a little water for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. Then he goes back, the sins of some people are quite evident going on before them to judgment. For others, their sins follow after. Timothy, you got to be really careful who you put in leadership. Because here's the deal. Some people you put in leadership, they mess up and everyone knows they mess up.
But some people go to their grave and we don't find out about the damage or what's happened until later, but it's devastating. And without mentioning any names, I think you can all think of some of the greatest Christian leaders in our whole generation who in recent times, revelations about their sexual indiscretions that have rocked, in this particular case, not the United States globally. Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Step Into, from his series, The Book of First Timothy, Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. Our mission, as many of you know, is for Christians to really live like Christians.
But that's a lot easier said than done nowadays, right? Through this new series based in the Book of First Timothy, Chip highlights the vital warnings and pieces of advice Paul shared with Timothy that helped him navigate the hostile society he lived in. Don't miss how we can put this wisdom into practice in our everyday Christian lives. To get plugged in with this series, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org.
That's LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, before we continue today's program, Chip's joined me here in studio now. And Chip, I can see you've got something you'd like to share with our listeners.
Thanks so much, Dave. I want to pause just for a minute, and if you're a financial partner with Living on the Edge, I just want you to hear a message that we received from a lady named Kelly who listens every single day. She said, Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your life with others. You've made a positive difference in my life. You know, Kelly is one of hundreds, actually thousands of emails that we get at Living on the Edge. I just call them life change.
Spirit of God took the Word of God, and it might have been on a podcast, could have been on the radio, could have been in a small group, could have even been a CD or a book. But God intervenes with their life, and something happens that changes the course of their life. And I just want to pause and thank you. You know, some of you write a check every month. Some of you have it taken out of your account every month.
Some of you like once a quarter, twice a year. You give to Living on the Edge. I want to remind you what it actually does. It's not about giving money. It's about extending ministry and changing lives. So thank you, thank you, thank you. And if by chance you're listening and you're thinking, you know, I've never given to Living on the Edge, but I'd like to get in on that, we'll give you a very simple way of how you can join the team and really make a difference.
Thanks, Chip. Well, if this story inspired you and you'd like to become part of our team, we'd love to have you join us. Your support helps us reach more and more people with biblical teaching as we encourage Christians everywhere to really live like Christians. To give a gift, go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, you can text the word donate to 741-41.
That's donate to 741-41. And let me thank you in advance for whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, now here's Chip with some final thoughts for this important message.
As we close today's program, boy, I have a lot of things going through my mind, and there's a lot of directions we could go. I think of the bias that I had, I shared earlier, where I was so self-righteous and I was so down on other people, and I thought they so didn't get it. And the way I responded and the way I talked with them, literally, I think I just about lost all credibility apart from a very kind man who sat in my driveway with me and gave me some words of wisdom and confirmed that prejudice is wrong. And every group from every background, whether it's ethnic or racial or geographical, has our prejudice and biases.
But the way to win them is not the way I was doing it with my bias and my prejudice and my self-righteousness. And I'd like you to pause with me now and say, how are we doing in the body of Christ? How do we talk to one another?
How do you think and communicate and post on social media? There's a lot of issues, and it's good to disagree and to think clearly and evaluate, but I think it's breaking God's heart in the way that we're speaking and posting and slamming and criticizing one another. I think the world is looking at a fractured church that is revealing such incredible immaturity. And so the question I want you to ask is, would Jesus be pleased if he read your Facebook or your Instagram?
Is Jesus pleased with private conversations you're having with other believers about, quote, other Christians and what they do or don't do or that might be a part of a different political party than yours? Let's grow up. Let's be wise. Let's remember what matters most. Let's be people that speak the truth, agree to disagree where necessary, and then let's agree on the things that really matter. Lost people need Christ, found people need to grow up, and our communities need us to serve them and love them regardless of where they're coming from.
That's what Jesus did, and we need to follow him. Just before we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. If there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Maybe give us a call at 888-333-6003 or connect with us at livingontheedge.org. And while you're there, take a moment and look through our resources on a variety of topics, many of them absolutely free. Until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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