12 Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
– 1 Thess. 5:12-13 IVS
We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives. So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staffs as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church. Love them, pray for them and be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor.
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17, 18
God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down. We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NLT) 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ
God is waiting to show you the way.
Read again the list of gifts that Christ gave to the Church. Did you notice that “minister” is not listed here. Have you ever wondered why? Ministering to church members is not their responsibility. Look at verse 12. Their job is to teach us (God’s people) to do the ministering. They are to teach and equip us to do God’s work. That work includes ministering to one another, building each other up, taking care of the sick, fixing meals, etc. The early church understood this as we are shown in Acts 6:2-6
2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well-respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” 5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). 6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.
Our pastors spend most of their time doing the job that God intended for us to do. Is it any wonder that they experience burnout? Planning messages, overseeing the church and its staff, performing weddings and officiating at funerals keeps them busy. We have been spoiled and taught the wrong way to look at our pastors. Just because they should have a servant’s heart and attitude does not give us the right to treat them as a servant. Pastors are fallible humans just like we are, they are not super humans given to us to abuse.
Take the time to visit your pastor and ask him/her how you can best pray for him. Just remember, keep your visits short and respect his/her time, not everyone has learned this lesson yet. Pray for him/her everyday and show your appreciation often.