(I Thessalonians 5:12, 13a)
I’m writing this with a smile on my face, because maybe a Pastor’s wife is not the best person in the world to teach on how to take care of the Pastor…but…here we are in I Thessalonians with some very good verses to challenge us to take care of our Pastors…so…with your indulgence, I will plunge right in….
Did you know that everyone needs a Pastor? In this age of “I don’t answer to anyone.”… “I am my own boss”…“I don’t need anyone leaning over my shoulder telling me what to do”…“I don’t trust anyone with power”…“I want someone to meet my needs, but I don’t intend to do anything in return.”…in this age of entitlement on the one hand and fear of control on the other…It may be a hard fact to put your arms around, but the truth is…everyone needs a Pastor.
Think about it: Everyone needs a group of friends who are committed to the God of the Universe – Jesus Christ. And that group of friends needs to meet together weekly to worship and learn and fellowship with each other. That group of friends needs to give to one another when they have needs, baptize one another when they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, take communion together every so often to remember what Jesus did for them, surround one another’s families with respect and love and education about the things of God. That group of friends needs to reach out to the world around them with the message of Jesus, and then welcome new believers into their midst.
That group of friends is a church…and every church needs a Pastor.
Look at the description Peter, a Pastor, gives us of churches and Pastors: “To the elders (Pastors) among you, I appeal as a fellow elder (Pastor), a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the Crown of Glory that will never fade away.” (I Peter 5:1-4)
Everyone needs one of these. Someone who knows your name and prays for you out of a heart filled with tender compassion. Someone who will confront you when you are making stupid decisions – not as one who can force you to do anything, but as one who knows his own weakness as well as yours, and does not want to see you suffer. Someone who will laugh at your jokes. Someone who will ask how your grandchildren are doing. Someone who will kneel by your bed in the hospital and plead for your healing. Someone who will fight for your right to make your own decisions. Someone who will baptize you when you know it is time to raise your flag. Someone who will at your funeral speak kind and true words about you. Someone who will teach you the truth about God, and teach you to use your Bible well, so that you can find out God’s truths for yourself. Everyone needs one.
I challenge you that if you don’t have a Pastor…ask God to give you one. Be willing to go find one. Be willing to lay aside your independence long enough to find a man who will honorably lead you, walk beside you, cry with you…as you seek to live for Christ in a dark, dark world.
“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. “ (I Thessalonians 5:12, 13a)
They don’t come free. You must hold them in high regard. Sometimes that costs. You can’t mock them when you are with friends who have no respect for them. You can’t ignore them when you are being confronted with truth about yourself. You can’t be mean to them or their families even though sometimes they may hurt your feelings. You can’t be unforgiving when you have been misunderstood. You can’t lash out in anger at them – you can’t gossip about them – you can’t try to hurt them. You must hold them in high regard.
Sure there are Pastors out there who don’t deserve the title. Sure there are Pastors who don’t work hard, who don’t really like the people they are pastoring, whom you really shouldn’t be trusting. But you don’t choose a Pastor with your eyes closed. Choose carefully. Compare the man to what the LORD has said he should be like. (see Paul’s description of a good Pastor as he writes to Timothy: II Timothy 2:1-7)
And when you find him, hold him in high regard. Take good care of him.