For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 1 Tim 3:13
How often have you heard men at your church share the desire they have to be pastors or teachers in the church? In contrast, how many times have you heard a man at your church express his desire to obtain to the office of deacon? I have experienced a ratio of, I would say, of about ten to one, pastor to deacon. Many simply see the preacher at their church get behind the pulpit every week, carrying out the high honor of dispensing the word of God to the people, and desire the position for the high honor that it is. But we must not forget the reason that the preacher is able to stand behind the pulpit every week with a well prepared and well prayed over sermon. The reason he is even able to do so is because there are other men behind the scenes taking care of the many other necessary duties and responsibilities that are crucial to the functioning of the church. This need for other faithful men to assist the preaching and teaching ministry of the church arose at a very early point in the history of the New Covenant church.
As early as Acts chapter 6 we see the twelve apostles, who were bearing the bulk of the church’s teaching ministry (Acts 5:42), sensing the need to put in place another group of men who could assist them in carrying out some of the daily duties of the church’s ministry. The apostles proceeded with the words of Acts 6:2–4
“It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
I believe this group of seven men that were set apart by the apostles is what developed into the office of the deacon as it later came to be called (the root form of the word διάκονος even being found in Acts 6:1&2). Be sure to notice in verse 3 the holy requirements stipulated by the apostles for those to be selected to this new position of service within the church, “men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom”. Not many are surprised that the church office of the elder requires a very high standard for those being considered for that position, but the office of deacon is held to a likewise high standard. If you compare the requirements given for both the elders and deacons by the apostle Paul in 1Timothy 3 you will notice a remarkable similarity between the qualifications for these positions; the only distinguishing requirement for the elder being that of “able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2).
There is a reason that the deacon is held to such a high standard and this is the fact that all of the work that is to be done in Christ’s church, especially work done by those in official offices of the church, is to be done for the glory of Jesus Christ. The offices of the church are to be filled by those men who are already devoting their lives to the glory of God by setting themselves apart from the cares of this world and the distractions that may keep them from fulfilling their service to the church. Since God’s glory is being displayed through the work of the elders and deacons of the church, men are to be chosen who will be sure to carry out their work in such a way that they will not be a cause for stumbling amongst the members of the church in which they serve or with the outside world (1 Tim 3:7).
Every member of the church should certainly be pressing forward in their sanctification so as to achieve the godly standards required of those who would be church officers but for those who by God’s grace do attain to the position of deacon there is a very special and exceptional promise given to them by God through the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3:13
“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
What an inspiring reward to have to look forward to! Deacons are given many responsibilities and tasks to be carried out week after week so that the church will function properly. Often times these servants of the church do not receive the honor due their position within the church. They are often married with children and at the same time working a full-time job. They are busy not only at home but at church and the work can be burdensome. But the faithful Deacon is given this promise of gaining “a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus”, a promise that they can hold onto when the work load is much and they feel underappreciated, but the faithful deacon will over the years gain their high standing and great confidence with God and His church. It is promises like these, given to the deacons of the church, that the faithful believers over all of church history have held onto and used as fuel to stoke their perseverance until the promise is gained (Hebrews 6:12). And because God will honor His deacons in such a way so should the church honor her deacons now!
Chris has served Heritage Grace Community Church as a deacon since the church was founded. In November of 2013 he was ordained to the office of elder. Chris and his wife Cassi live in The Colony with their three children Brooklyn, Kennedi, and Canon.