1ti 04v16 Take Heed Unto Thyself
"TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF"
I Timothy 4:16
Let every congregation and every believer hold God's servants in love and high esteem for their work's sake. That man who is called, ordained, and gifted of God for the work of the ministry is God's man; and he is to be treated as such. God will never honor a people who treat his servants with contempt. But let every gospel preacher remember that he is only a man, a man of frail, sinful flesh. Therefore Paul says to Timothy, and to all who preach the gospel, "Take heed unto thyself."
In verse 12 Paul admonishes us to be examples to those who believe. It is as though he were saying, "Don Fortner, remember whose you are, whose name you represent, and whose people you lead; and in your day by day life see to it that you live before God's elect as an example of love, devotion, faith, righteousness, and sincerity, so that those who follow in your steps may walk aright." That is a tall order, one from which our flesh naturally turns away. We all like to say, "Do as I say, not as I do." But Paul lays this responsibility upon our backs. If we dare speak for God, we must live for God. Doctrine must be enforced by devotion. We must not put on a pretentious show of piety and self-righteousness. Yet, THOSE TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS WHICH ARE EXPECTED FROM THE PEOPLE OF GOD A PREACHER OUGHT TO EXEMPLIFY. Paul goes over the list fairly thoroughly in I Timothy 3:1-7.
Even among the unbelievers, God's servant must have a good report. He must see to it that he lives above reproach, blamelessly before men. He cannot make men like him or the gospel of God's grace. But he can live in such a way that none of God's enemies can justly use his life to blaspheme God and cast reproach upon the gospel. God's servants are not devious, cunning, and crafty. They do not use people. They serve people. They are not greedy. They are generous. They are honest men of integrity, men who pay their bills, and walk before God and men with uprightness, sincerity, and truth. They can be trusted. Paul's admonition to me and to all who preach the gospel is, "Take heed unto thyself." No one else can or should, but we must take heed unto ourselves. God help us to do so.