Pastors, Elders, they are leaders of the church, with a difficult task. They are called, by God, to feed His sheep. They are accountable for the spiritual well being of the flock given to them by God.
They are CALLED. CHOSEN. ANNOINTED.
They are to be appreciated, esteem, loved, encouraged and worthy of honor. I Timothy 4:5 says that “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
David recognized the importance of honoring God’s anointed. Several times Saul was delivered into David’s hand and he could have easily killed him, after all Saul was trying to kill David. But Saul was God’s anointed. David would not stretch out his hand against the one God had anointed to be king. (1Sam 24)
As I read 1 Thess. 5 yesterday I came to verses 12 and 13. Twice I read those verses. I wondered aloud, “God have they always been there?” (don’t you LOVE the Word of God!!) I read them a third time, slowly, and allowed them to sink in.
And then I thought…
“How many times have I NOT appreciated those men who have diligently labored over me. How often have I sat idly by and listened to others destroy the character of a Pastor or Elder? How often have I even voiced my own criticism of the leaders?”
Over 10 years ago I remember being so convicted by my critical words spoken against my pastor that I went to those I had spoken critically to and went to my pastor and begged forgiveness. I wish I could say from that point on I never did it again, but sadly I can not. I can however share that the Spirit convicted me each time and I would humbly go before Him in confession.
Today I hold him in high regard. Today, although we are in a different church, and he has retired, I look at him with great respect for his diligent service to the flock God gave him.
Since that time I have been very careful about my thoughts, speech and attitude toward those God places in leadership. The pastors in our churches are anointed by God. They are chosen by God to preach and teach His sheep. Because they are God’s chosen then I have a responsibility to humble follow the direction they lead. I must trust God in who He has called to lead.
Does it mean I will agree with every decision or path we take. No. Does it mean I will never have moments when I might be TEMPTED to criticize? Of course not. But what God is calling me, and you, to do is “appreciate those who diligently labor among, you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” 1 Thess 5:12-13
But WHY should I?
It’s simple- God says so and if we don’t it’s sin. (Yeah I know some will not like that answer.)
We do this not because they are perfect and will always make the right decisions. We do this because they are God’s chosen. God has called them to lead the church and he calls us to live at peace. Again I refer back to David who would not even stretch out his hand toward God’s anointed, even though Saul was trying to kill him and God had departed from Saul.
October is Pastor appreciation month, although I for one think we should show appreciation to our pastors every month, why not use this time to send a note of encouragement.
Then through out the year remember to honor him, support him, encourage him, love him. There are so many ways you can do this, be creative! Send a card, a text, or an email and tell him thanks. Let him know what he means to you, to your spiritual growth. PRAY for him.
I would also
encourage challenge those of you who tend to be critical of your pastor, to begin praying for him. Confess to the Lord your sin against His anointed. Go to your pastor and confess to him. Then purpose in your heart before the Lord that you will support, encourage and love those God has placed in leadership.
Oh and by the way, I truly believe this goes for their wives also. Don’t forget their role in the lives of their husband as together they minister to the body.