1 Timothy 5

Don’t be hasty

“Haste makes waste.” I’ve heard this expression most of my life. As an adult I learned the phrase, “Measure twice, cut once.” It is referring to carpentry and directly ties in to “Haste makes waste”, since if I don’t measure something right before cutting it, I may end up with something too short, have to throw it out, and then need to purchase another piece of wood.

Earlier this year I helped my cousin purchase a large-screen TV for his home. He had picked out a vacated bookcase shelf for the new plasma or LCD unit. Unfortunately I trusted his measurements rather than checking them myself. The TV that we purchased was about 10 inches narrower than the shelf. There is a lot of wasted space on either side of the unit that could have been filled with viewable screen. Sigh… I guess it could have been worse, it could have been too large. Pity though that we were not more careful.

Last year in my men’s group, Wildmen, there were several guys eager to have a young Christian step-up to more leadership responsibility. The following principle kept rattling about in my brain and I voiced my concerns.

An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. – 1 Timothy 3:6

Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. – 1 Timothy 5:22

Despite my reservations, he was put into a position of leadership. I’m not saying he was engaged in any open sin, but his immaturity exposed some wounds, offense resulted, and damage control had to be performed. All because we were hasty. It has taken some time, and things are now better. But it was a situation that should not have happened in the first place.

This does not relate to the situation above, but in looking at the second passage a bit further, it appears to me that Paul is tying the not being hasty to sin and purity. I suspect it is because if someone is put into a position of leadership too quickly, there has not been sufficient time to determine who he really is inside. What is lurking in there? And by putting him in charge of others, we make them participants in his sin if there is any.

I believe that is why Paul gave the following instruction.

Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons. – 1 Timothy 3:10

In our microwave, fax, text-message, cell-phone, culture, we want things immediately. Rarely are we required to wait for anything; and when we do wait we are annoyed, or outright angry at being forced to do so. However, haste does make waste. We need to be like another metaphor of Paul’s.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

The key is endurance, persevering. This is a long-term perspective, not a short term one.

Father, may I think twice and act once. Please give me the wisdom needed to not be hasty. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Slow and steady wins the race. Jan

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