Deacons are servants. They serve Christ by serving His church. Their task is to enable God’s family to receive what He wants to give them, and give to others what God wants to pass on in blessing. In one sense they are trustees who enable divine resources to be available where they can be best used. Faithfulness is a primary qualification for this role. Polygamy, either in parallel (where a man may have intimate relationships with more than one woman at the same time), or in series (where a sequence of women find the favour of one man), is not a biblical model of family life. The Bible’s teaching on marriage is that it is the exclusive relationship of one man to one woman for life. That is the level of commitment that Christ gives to those who come to Him.
Infidelity is not a stable basis for bringing up children. Nor can it produce spiritually stable churches. Leaders with distracted hearts cannot draw their churches to commit themselves to Jesus Christ as the only Way. But, in the same way that joy comes as a marriage grows and a family is created, so those who serve the Lord in the church grow spiritually themselves (as well as helping others to grow). As we serve the Lord wholeheartedly we become more assured that our faith, obedience and service is so worthwhile, and affirms the eternal life we have through Christ.
Faithful, loyal, consistent and self-sacrificial service is essential to growing a family well and for growing a church. When selecting deacons, choose those whose homes you would like to live in. What they do at home they will do in the church. But like church elders, deacons and indeed all God’s people are not perfect: they need to know where to change and desire to do so. Today's verses should enable us to see ourselves in a spiritual mirror (James 1:22-25). Where we have lost our focus, the importance of faithfulness, drifted into carelessness or simply acted out a spiritual role without being the right sort of person – it is time to repent, learn the right lifestyle from Christ and practise it by serving Him at home and wherever He calls us to work for Him.
© Dr Paul Adams