If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
Mankind is of a rebellious nature. We are small, weak, vulnerable and yet as ironic as it may seem, we strive for independence at any cost. Human history teaches us that our thirst for freedom from even God-appointed human leadership has solely been quenched by the spilling of much blood. Mahatma Gandhi is known to have said to British officials then controlling India that every man would prefer to be run by his own bad government that the good government of others. Whereas countries do have their own right to self-determination, in theology this principle translates in that mankind prefers to be led by his own distilled spiritual errors than by the Truth taught him by a God-appointed leadership.
The Father knows that we need leadership, that’s why He inspired Jethro to advise Moses to establish a council of elders. This council was to be called the ‘Court of Judgment’ or ‘bet-din’ in Hebrew. Authority was granted to individuals to help people find answers for their everyday questions, interpreting the Torah by the Torah. This council would later become the Sanhedrin.
Just as people today refuse to answer to any human authority, it is not hard to imagine that some of the Children of Israel resented that lower court in favor of the higher court: that of Moses (Torah). It is not hard also to imagine that a charismatic council member form this lower court would draw much attention to himself thus provoking unbalanced loyalties from the people. These problems with human leadership exist today, and they certainly existed then; we see them plenty in the Bible.
This is why these needed to be men known for their integrity; men from among the people who fear God, are trustworthy; men who hate a bribe; men to whom Moses would teach the statutes and the laws of God. Moses had the charge to teach them the way in which they must walk and what they must do (Exodus 18:20-21).
The disciples of the Master used the same blue-print to establish leadership in the Messianic congregations. At a time of crisis, they also established leaders to judge petty matters within the community (Acts 6:1). Again, as in the Horeb blue-print, these men were chosen for their integrity; men of good repute and full of the Spirit and of wisdom (Acts 6:3). Also, according to the same parameters, Paul established leadership over each and every congregation. Hear his advice to Timothy on how to choose congregational leaders: an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive … dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain … their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:1-12).
It is also noticeable that it was the people who chose these leaders who were afterward anointed and appointed by Moses or Paul.