Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Avoid Copying Bad Role Models

3 John 1:9-11
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (NIVUK)

God gives gifts to enable us to serve Him better, but we have to learn to use them well. John's letter to Gaius was to encourage him in the gift of hospitality, to stretch him to be more generous to travelling missionaries, but also to warn him not to follow bad examples.

One bad role model was Diotrephes. He was a church leader but a proud man who loved to be in control, and refused to accept the authority of the apostles. That was a bad sign because they had been specially appointed by Jesus to establish the true gospel. Their teaching was the authoritative Word of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; and so for Diotrephes to refuse to welcome the apostles, and spread lies about them, showed that his heart was not right.

Even though an essential qualification for church leaders is that they are hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2), that rogue leader would not welcome other believers, and even excommunicated church members who wanted to do so. John is quite blunt in saying that kind of behaviour is evil and does not come from God. Therefore, Gaius must not imitate that bad example.

When we are inexperienced we usually assume that more experienced people are wiser than we are, and we copy them. But we must be careful: is their heart tuned to the Lord's, is their behaviour godly, is their leadership Christ-like? There are no perfect leaders but we must be discerning so that we can wisely choose which role models to copy in ministry as in other areas of life. As we pray about it, the Lord will show us in His Word and in our consciences.

Dear Lord. Thank You for giving me spiritual gifts so that I can serve in Your power. But I am sorry when I neglect to use them or have allowed bad role models to spoil the way I serve You. Please help me to discern which people can be trusted to show me how to serve You faithfully. May I value their example and reject the example of people whose heart is not like that of Jesus Christ. In His Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams