Who is Blameless?

Photo credit: unsplash.com_zach minor When I was young, we'd play a game at the beach called Cut the Cake. We'd lay in the sand, make a mound, and put a stick at the top. Each person would cut away at the “cake” until the stick fell.

Whoever made it fall would lose and suffer some consequence, like throwing sand at them.

Sometimes pastors and leaders feel like the stick in the “cake.” People tend to elevate leaders on a pedestal, then chip away with criticism. Sooner or later the leader falls from favor.

Unrealistic expectations

So, is it wrong to expect a lot from church leaders? No. But some people misinterpret this verse, which leads to unrealistic expectations—

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money. Titus 1:7 (NKJV)

After reading this, some may think that any blame disqualifies a person to lead. Perhaps the language of this verse confuses people. Let's be honest. Is there really anybody that is blameless? Right! I believe that fits only one human in history, Jesus.

A better understanding

So, who is this intended for? Originally, for those church leaders called to be overseers, including pastors, elders, and others with responsibility for overseeing, or shepherding, God's people in ministry.

However, blameless doesn’t mean perfect in behavior but in example. This is explained by the rest of the verse.

When it says a bishop (overseer) is a steward of God, it clarifies the person’s role. This person is to be in submission to the Lord Jesus above all, as a servant of God. The idea of stewardship implies accountability to the Lord and His church.

Examples not perfection

The list of things to not be is both descriptive and helpful in understanding what blamelessness is, and in a sense, what it is not.

An overseer, a shepherd of God’s people, is not to be self-willed. This lines up with a basic concept Jesus taught for any of His followers—self-denial. This person should not be quick-tempered.

Well, isn’t that to be so for all true followers of Jesus?

An elder (shepherd) is not to be given to wine, or as it says in other versions, not a heavy drinker. Nor should they be violent, greedy, or pursuing dishonest gain.

Again, shouldn’t these things be true of all followers of Jesus?

Do you see how this works?

Our church leaders are examples to and for us. As they follow Jesus, they model how we are to follow Him.

Some questions to consider—

Who are leaders within your church that you respect? Why do you respect them? 

What are ways you’ve been critical of others, especially leaders?

Are these same behaviors present in your life?

Some practical steps to take—

Encourage a church leader this week because of their example in life and leadership.

Then, learn from their example and put it into practice in your own life.

The original, unedited version of this post is on Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale's Daily Devo blog. Here's the link– Who is Blameless?

We'll get back to the Bible study in Ecclesiastes next week.

Thanks for reading and please share this post with others!