Keep these instructions without partiality, and . . . do nothing out of favoritism. (1 Tim. 5:21)

I became a professor and completed my doctorate when all my children were still living at home. Quite often, I would take a child or two with me to the university where I would spend my evenings grading student papers or working on my own research. My children loved this. They rode their bikes, skateboarded around the campus, ordered hot chocolate at the coffee shop, and talked to “cool” college kids. (Inevitably, my rambunctious children have been the subject of countless lecture illustrations.) As a result, the college students have often speculated among themselves, “Who is her favorite child?” They would even have the audacity to ask me which one I loved best—as if there were a possible answer! I love them equally even as I have recognized their differences.

Certainly, this impartiality is precisely what Paul explained to Timothy in his letter. Though members of the church have different roles and needs—from the widow to the elder—each member is subject to the same expectation of holiness and respect. Favoritism has no place in the church.

Whether we see ourselves as “lowly” or a “leader,” we must actively seek holiness. We are not given a pass due to our position. When we look to others, Paul’s instructions indicate that we must neither be blinded by unwarranted awe nor guided by misplaced sympathy.

Love your brothers and sisters in Christ impartially.

Dalene Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.