SOBER

When you think of what elders do during our meetings around the big table, you may envision 7 somber, solemn, older men seriously consumed by congregational matters.  You would be partially correct.  We are told by scripture to “keep watch over the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…” (Acts 20:28) The Hebrew writer concurs by saying, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you (souls) as men who must give an account…” (Heb 13:17) Could anything on earth be a bigger responsibility?

Yes, we may appear staid and serious because we are enmeshed in cases of unfaithful spouses, children, failing marriages, apathy, etc, etc.  However, when we are dealing with the more mundane tasks of parking lots, pews, and picnics we allow plenty of levity.  In fact, everyone of us thinks we are a wit and some suggest we are half-right.

Most of the time all of us enjoy being around a life-of-the-party joker who keeps us laughing.  But that type of behavior would be unwelcome at funerals and other serious gatherings.  As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” “…a time to weep and a time to laugh…” (Ecc 3:1,4)

In his inspired letter to Titus, Paul uses the word sober (KJV) four times when giving instructions to older men, older women, younger women and younger men. (Tit 2:1-8) Other versions of the New Testament give us some more clarity of the word sober—temperate, disciplined, prudent, sensible and self-controlled.  In the same chapter of Romans that tells us to renew our minds, it also tells us to think of ourselves with sober judgment.  (Rom 12:2-3) It seems that as we participate in this type of introspection we would conclude that we must rid ourselves of any hint of arrogance.

—-Jim Bailey