Timothy is not just a leader in the church of Ephesus – he is a leader of leaders. This is leadership on a harder level, and Paul gives some very poignant teaching to his protege in these verses.
Leaders should be respected and paid well, held to a higher standard but not easily overthrown by accusations. A person should not quickly be given power – take time. The sins of some people are obvious – others hide their sins well – so we need to be patient with giving power and positions to people in church (and life). Timothy needs to be strong – paying attention to his health and his spiritual life.
We all lead in some area of our lives – home, family, work, school, friends. How are we leading? Are we leading others closer to Christ? Are we wise with our leadership, and whom we trust? The Bible is teaching that leaders need to raise up other leaders (not hoard power), and need to respect and recognize them – there should be reward for leading well for Jesus. Leaders also need to seek to be people of Christian character, and looking for others who have genuine faith – those are the people to promote – not just the ones who have the best “skills”. Skills can be taught, character has to be formed in the fire of life.
Look for character in others; look after character in yourself. These are strong leadership lessons.
17Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well,e especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”f
19Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. 20Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.
21I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.
23Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.
24Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.