Lesson 9 -- third quarter 2004
August 1, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Worthy of honor
Tragically, one favorite topic for grumpings and discussions covers whatever might come under the theme "Our Preachers and their Hobby Horses." To what do you think your ministers give undue and unnecessary attention? According to some individuals, their leaders "fuss too much" about dress or styles or simplicity or hair or modesty or church discipline or young folks or entertainment or....
Since your ministers are human, I willingly grant that you may have ample reason for getting tired of their "phobias and hang-ups." Maybe you get tired of them because they are entirely overdone and unjustified. But perhaps you tire of them because they mangle your toes! Then you need to apply Galatians 4:16 to your circumstance: "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"
In considering these things, you must remember that the ministers in your congregation carry a heavy weight on their shoulders called "The Responsibility for People's Souls and Destinies." This is something with which you cannot fully identify unless you have borne it. God has given these men to the church to help Him accomplish His plan for the church (Ephesians 4:11,12; 1 Thessalonians 3:10). He holds them accountable to care for His church (compare take care in 1 Timothy 3:5 with its use in Luke 10:34,35). That is a fearsome thing! Your ministers may give tremendous emphasis to a doctrine or practice because they see carelessness, slippage, disobedience, or outright apostasy. They want to give a good account of their stewardship as under-shepherds, so they watch for your soul (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4)!
That's their responsibility; you have yours. Since they are God's under-shepherds, He calls on you to obey them in submission (Romans 13:1; Hebrews 13:17); to not do so is extremely unprofitable for you! God also expects you to give them due consideration and respect, following their faith (Hebrews 13:7) with a proper attitude (Philippians 2:14).
Your ministers identify closely with your spiritual success. God has taken their hearts and closely intertwined them with your life. When you fail to be blameless and without rebuke in the world, when you don't shine as a light nor hold forth the word of life, they experience a deep sense of failure, of having run and labored in vain (Philippians 2:15,16). These men want to stand before God now and later with total joy because they have trophies of your caliber to cast at His feet.
"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved" (Phlippians 4:1).
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy" (1 Thessalonians 2:19,20).
In addition to being a faithful Christian, you can honor your church leaders by supporting them. First off, never forget that God chose this man for your congregation. Secondly, remember that you and he are fellow members of the same body and, therefore, mutually dependent. In the third place, pray for him daily in areas that are specific to him and his current needs. Consider that God may well hold you responsible for the success or failure of this man's ministry!
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