The Bible has several lists of requirements for a pastor or an Elder of a church. The lists are fairly extensive, and every time I read through them I cringe as I think about my own life. A short portion of one of those lists of requirements is in 1 Timothy 3:3
“not pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable,”
My Dad was in the Navy for 20 plus years, having joined prior to World War II. He retired when I was 12 years old in 1960, and from my birth until he retired we moved about 20 times. The Navy housing we usually stayed in was called “temporary housing” because it was for the families of sailors who would be there just a few months before they moved to the next port that their ship pulled into. The housing was packed tightly together, usually with a play ground in the center where lots of kids congregated. Because of my name I always got teased by the resident bully and his gang of friends minutes after our first visit to the playground, which would always result in a good fight. My brothers Cliff and Matt and I stuck pretty close together, so when any one of us got into a fight the other two would jump right in. The three of us took on the best the playground gangs could offer, and we whipped them all. One of the things that happened with the many moves and the many, many fights was that I got to enjoying the experience of the anticipation of the upcoming battle and the victory. After Dad retired and we bought our first farm and settled down I never got into another fight, at least physically. But I have gotten into lots of fights verbally and relationally. As I was thinking about some things I was planning on doing to resist the control of government over my life and the life of our church, I thought to myself, I sure enjoy a good fight, especially when I am sure I am right. I thought to myself, “that is probably the definition of pugnacious”.
What does that passage say, “The Lord’s servant must not be pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable”. Darn, being pugnacious sounds so much more fun.