Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bishop, God's Stewards on the Earth

Today I read 1 Timothy 3 where Paul outlines the requirements for a bishop and for a deacon in the days of Paul. I must admit that I laughed out loud at one point because Paul says that a bishop needs to have his household in order because how can he be expected to manage the affairs of God if he doesn't have his own household in order. I laughed because it is a running joke in the Latter-day Saint community that the wildest most out of control kids in the ward are usually the bishop's children. Now of course this is a stereotype, much like a general's daughter in the military, but it's enough of a stereotype that it made me laugh.

I once read an article about a general authority that was talking to a member of another faith and was asked why our deacons do not match the description set forth by Paul. I will be honest that I don't remember what answer the general authority gave, but the other church that has the office of a deacon doesn't match the description given by Paul either. But as I have said before, I am not here to bash other people's religious faith but rather to share my impressions from my reading.

A bishop is in charge of the welfare of all those in the ward that he leads on behalf of Jesus Christ. He needs to be concerned with the physical and spiritual welfare of those in his charge. His is perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the church. I know it must be very challenging to be under that kind of pressure but it is a great responsibility too. To be put in charge of that many of His children, Heavenly Father has to have great trust in those who are chosen to be a bishop. I have always tried to make their job a little easier if at all possible. We can make our bishop's calling easier by looking for ways to help and by accepting the call to serve when it comes our way. I have always been taught that when you are asked to serve in the ward in whatever capacity, you accept the calling. There are those however that don't understand this principle. They only want to serve in certain callings. Now, I don't think that it is a prestige thing, in that they only want to serve where they can be seen by others. Rather I think that they genuinely don't want to do the calling in question, such as serving in the primary.

But we need to remember that our bishops have the Spirit of Revelation to guide them and that when they come to us with something they have most likely been guided by the Spirit. They know the needs of those in their care and know who can best serve those needs. Just recently in my own ward we had a situation where we had to replace the Elder's Quorum counselor and the name that came up was a surprise to everyone because of the schedule this man has. When the bishop was told the name he stated that he would need to think and pray about it, but as he did so, the Spirit confirmed to him what it had told the Elder's Quorum president, truly revelation at work. When we question a calling we are essentially calling into question the bishop's ability to hear the Spirit. People don't tend to look at it that way, but that's what it truly is. Because if we believe that the bishop is in tune with the Spirit then we need to believe that any calling we are asked to fulfill comes by the Spirit of revelation too. If you struggle with that, perhaps it's time to take it to the Lord for some revelation of your own. We need to remember that the Lord is ultimately in charge of the church and that any bishop or even prophet for that matter is just looking after things for Him while He is not on the earth. We need to defer to our local priesthood leaders just as we would to Jesus Christ if He were on the earth. Until tomorrow.

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