Andy Hollifield 3-29-17
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
Double—–twice as large, heavy, strong, etc…; twofold in size, amount, number, extent
The word double is used 26 times in scripture. The scripture in 2 Kings is the only time the word is used pertaining to spirit. The scripture in 1 Timothy is the first of six times it is used in the New Testament. There it pertains to those that have obviously displayed a good spirit in their work in the word and in doctrine. This one is the scripture that came on my mind last night. Double honor. What a prize to shoot for? To live my life so engrossed in the word and work of the Lord that I would be considered as having ruled well in what the lord gave me to do, that I would ever be counted worthy of double honor. There is a little hitch to that commendation that we all must attain to. It is the requirement that we rule well. To do that, we must have a good understanding of what is expected of the position we occupy. This would refer to our tenure and the conduct of our reign or office. Solomon wasn’t revered because he was a dictator as king, but because he displayed great wisdom in the execution of his duties. The definition of his reign was to exercise dominating power or influence in his authority and dominion. Ronald Reagan was successful not because he was a dictator or conducted himself as “boss”, but because he exerted influence and won people over with charm, wisdom, and intellect. He got more accomplished by talking with people than talking at people. He could be “boss” when he had to such as with Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia and his handling of arms reduction. Also, he took a hard stance pertaining to the Berlin Wall when he made the famous speech in front of the entire world’s cameras on June 12th, 1987 when he told Mr. Gorbachev, “tear down this wall!” I don’t know about anyone else, but as a young man of only 22 years old, this was a proud moment for me. It was one of those things like the 1980 Olympic Hockey victory over the Russians when you were just “proud to be an American.” I always have been but moments like those just made you realize even more how blessed you were to live here.
I am not meaning to get all nostalgic and flag-waving on you but I got carried away. My point with Mr. Reagan is that the way he conducted himself not only displayed influence here at home even against his political enemies, but also won him and the country respect around the world. He has, since his presidency, been regarded as the gold standard for presidents among conservatives. To me, his conduct makes him worthy of double honor. In keeping with 1 Timothy 5:17, it was not only ruling well our “one nation under God” but his “labour in the word and doctrine” that was impressive to me and defined his presidency. Mr. Reagan believed that we as a country should always put God first in all that we do. I believe his conduct is what has gotten him the honor and respect he enjoyed. The same can probably be said about John Kennedy although I don’t know as much about him. His unwillingness to flinch in the face of adversity, put our country on the edge of war but also showed the world that we weren’t to be messed around with.
As I mentioned, understanding our role is of vital importance. I have seen pastors over the years that immediately became boss to their people and almost as quickly lost the respect of their flock. I have also seen other pastors that came in with a heart to lead their people and won their respect immediately. God called us to lead sheep, not drive them. I found out in raising cattle that if you feed them the good grain they need, it will help them grow and they will follow you even though at times you may have to put wormer or fly spray on them or dehorn or do other uncomfortable and even painful stuff that is necessary for their good health. Shepherds sometimes have to break the leg of a wandering sheep. After they do, they have to carry it till it heals and all the while teaching that lamb how much he cares for him. After that, the lamb doesn’t usually have any trouble following the shepherd. That is ruling well.
I didn’t pastor but for a couple years and filled in a few different places for a few months but I did learn that if you tried to love people, they usually responded the same way. Sometimes you have to groom sheep and sometimes you have to shear them. You don’t do either constantly. I am not off track, I am still talking about ruling well. I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that this only applies to preachers because it applies to all Christians. It applies to how fathers rule their homes, how mothers maintain order in the home, how children conduct themselves toward parents and others in authority, and how those that are bosses or supervisors perform their jobs. In short, it is about how you live your life as a Christian. Peter may have said it best in 1 Peter 5:3 “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”
The other scripture I used is closely tied to 1 Timothy 5:17. When Elisha made his request, it was out of a heart desiring to be a better worker, more spiritual, and posess more power with God than he already had. Not more of everything than Elijah but far more than what he had. He wasn’t seeking his own glory, he was just desiring to be greater for the Lord than what he already was. I personally believe that when he left that plow in his parents field, he saw just enough in Elijah to give him a desire for a great harvest in the Lord’s field. If you look closely at the miracles of Elijah there were nine and those of Elisha were eighteen. I would say that the Lord must have considered him “worthy of double honour.”
I have known some folks, both men and women, that had so much God in their lives that you just wanted to be around them. It wasn’t always in the things they said or if they said anything. They just had an aura about them, that certain air that made you believe that if you hung around them enough you could learn something worthwhile. I had a pastor when I was a teenager whose name was Benalee Honeycutt. As he was in his last months of a long battle I think with cancer, I remember as a backslid teenage boy I would go and visit him. I would just sit by his bedside and just talk. Not about anything in particular but just talk. He never said, but I think he probably knew how backslid I was. He may have also had an idea that God would make something out of me one day. I never really understood exactly what it was that drew me to him but I just know that I pray that the Lord lets me have it. That something that will draw backslid kids to me because they can see I love them. I guess that was what it was. It was just that pastor’s love for a wayward lamb. He could have been the “boss” and pointed his finger in my face and read me my rights but he chose to show God’s love and kept me coming back. My pastor Bruce West has always been that kind of man. He always loved me enough to tell me when he thought I was wrong and loved me even when I didn’t follow his advice. Always supported and mentored me even before mentoring became fashionable. After all, it was biblical long before it became fashionable. There have been some ladies like that in my life too. Bruce’s wife Stella, my mom, Rena Arrowood and Sally Bryan from Stroupe’s Rest Home in Oteen that had that aura with a young upstart preacher and always encouraged and prayed for me. Danny Dyer, the blind radio DJ that prayed for me before my broadcast. My old buddy Big Carl Robinson who used me constantly when I started preaching even though he didn’t have to. Ralph McClain that picked the guitar for me and tried to calm my crying and encouraged me to sing. Yes sir, I have been privileged to know some folks that probably had a double portion of somebody’s spirit. Some elders that in my mind are definitely worthy of double honor. My prayer is not to be greater than someone else but to be better than I am today. If I can accomplish that tomorrow and every tomorrow, maybe I can one day have someone to say about me, that I am worthy of double honor. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!