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A Rare Breed

February 9, 2011

3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 1 Timothy 3:3

While a man “addicted to wine” has forfeited control of his mind, and a “pugnacious” man loses control of his senses on a hair’s trigger, a man under the control of the Holy Spirit is “gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.”

Gentle means “seemly, equitable, yielding, mild.” A gentle guy opens the door for someone and lets them pass first. He even sees them coming and almost revels in the privilege of acting as a doorman. He’s the guy who waves a car through in bumper-to-bumper traffic. He won’t take the last piece of cake.

This reminds me of my recent experience in the breakfast line on a cruise ship. It wasn’t like there was a shortage of food ANYWHERE by any means, but a lady behind me became agitated when I hesitated to take the last waffle in the serving pan. Impatiently, she barked out for me to “go on and take it so that I can be served.” Sometimes you want to be “mild” and “yielding” and people won’t let you. This is how rare this trait is!

A peaceable man won’t throw a punch, but puts his hands palms out in the universal sign of abstention. He wishes to negotiate instead, and “gently” I might add. This guy resides on middle ground if possible.

I heard an interesting story that illustrates the combined qualities of gentleness and peacefulness. A Congresswoman was at a recent state dinner and ordered a glass of wine over her shoulder form an uniformed man she thought to be her waiter. The man dutifully delivered the glass to her table, but turned out not to be her waiter, but a highly decorated four-star general. A proud man doesn’t do this kind of thing.

In the church we want our leaders to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love; [to] give preference to one another in honor… to not think more highly of himself than he ought to think.” (Romans 12:10, 3)

A man free from the love of money neither spends it lavishly nor hoards it miserly. Money is recognized as a root of all sorts of evil (1 Timothy 6:9).

Instead money is wisely used to acquire the necessities of life, to enjoy unique opportunities, and to extend grace with magnanimity.

The writer of Hebrews says in 13:5: “Make sure your character is free from the love of money being content with what you have.” A godly man ready for church leadership is “not fond of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:7)

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