Becoming a Discerning People Sorter: 1 Timothy 6:3-5
“3) If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4) he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5) and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:3-5‬
It is sad to say, but some people are stuck in life and have no desire to grow or change. Others want to do nothing but argue, debate, cause friction and waste time. Some hang around Christian circles as a place to prospect for business deals.
Paul was warning Timothy not to waste his time, energy or resources on the wrong people. This may sound strange, but in these verses, Paul was instructing Timothy to be a “People Sorter.”
When it comes to evangelism and the Great Commission, we need to have our eyes open for Divine appointments. It is important to trust the Holy Spirit to send sincere and seeking people across your path. We are to share the gospel abundantly with all people, but invest our time and resources in those who show signs of sincere growth. In this respect, you need to become a discerning “People Sorter.”
Again in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructed Timothy to pour himself into building faithful men who would be able to teach and mentor others. He didn’t want him to spin wheels with those who were resisting the work of the Holy Spirit in their life. He wanted him to be intensional about pouring himself into fruitful and productive relationships. Again, he was teaching Timothy to be a “People Sorter.”
Be alert to distractions Satan sends into your life. They come in many forms including people with wrong motives or anti gospel intentions. In this text, Paul was warning Timothy to avoid these people. Becoming a wise and discerning “People Sorter” is a hard lesson to learn, but without some understanding of this concept you will waste untold time, energy, emotions and resources on the wrong people.
Here are some practical points on how to maximize your encounters with people. Ironically, this means you will have to minimize your time with the wrong people.
First, identify the time and energy drainers in your life. Avoid people who do nothing but spread negative attitudes, argue or cause friction. Be alert to people Satan wants to plant in your life to drain your emotions, time, energy and resources. He sends people with the intension of dragging you down and wasting your life. Knowing how to avoid the wrong people is the primary focus of 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
Second, look for people who naturally encourage, motivate and challenge you in your walk with Jesus Christ. These are most likely the iron sharpening friendships God wants to send for your growth and progress. These are premium relationships.
Third, look for those who are following in your wake and responding to your ministry and influence. These might be people God wants you to mentor and disciple. Be intensional about speaking into their life for the glory of God. This is where you may want to focus your intensional discipleship efforts.
Finally, do as Jesus did and have tighter and tighter circles of more productive relationships. He spent time with crowds, but poured Himself into the 120, the 70, the 12 and the 3. These were the leaders He groomed to take up the mantle in His absence. He was the Master Disciple Maker. Follow in His steps.
If you embrace these four points, they will help you focus your time and prioritize your relationships with people. Pray seriously about each category. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where He wants to place the various people in your life. Don’t be reckless with your relationships! Be discerning and intensional about influencing others for the glory of God.
When approached prayerfully, being a discerning “People Sorter” can have a profound impact on your life. It will undoubtedly realign many of your relationships and bring more focus into the way you spend your time, resources, talents and gifts for the glory of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global