Monday, April 21, 2008

Honour and Respect for Elders

Today we finish off Chapter 5 of 1 Timothy.
17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages." 19Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
wow...have to admit, I didn't expect Paul to start talking about Elders again, he's been talking about how to care for fellow church members and widows in this chapter. I suppose though, that this section on how to care for your elders fits in this chapter.

First Paul says:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Treat them well, consider them worthy of your respect. Let's think about that for a bit. Do you respect those in authority over you who rule well? Those men who labour in teaching you? Who labour in presenting God's word clearly to you? Those elders who teach your bible study ... do you respect them? Your pastor who studies the word of God to clearly present it to you, do you give him honour?

How do you show it?

Do you thank him for the message given?
Do you ask good questions that show you've been thinking about what you've been taught?
Do you prepare for your bible study lesson?
Do you prepare your hearts to learn of God before you come to church or bible study or Sunday school?
Do you expect him to "do it all"?
Just how do you show your honour and respect for these called men of God who are doing their job well?

I have to admit, I don't always do this as well as I aught. I fail to say ______, thank you for how you live your life, and how you teach God's word. It means much.
I have failed in the past to say Pastor, thank you. You've taught me things of God, thank you. How may I help you do your job better? I have failed to do that to MY shame. It doesn't show God's glory for me to fail to respect and honour those put in authority over me.

Have you ever said or thought the following:
  • The pastor didn't come out and visit me this week.
  • The elders didn't even call and I haven't been to church for three weeks!
  • The pastor didn't call when I had that storm on my farm.
  • Gee...he only works two hours a week so why can't he do up the church bulletins?
  • The church isn't growing, why isn't the pastor doing something about that?
  • Ahh...Forgot to prepare for bible study, that's okay... I can just sit and listen tonight.
  • What? He wants to go away on study leave? Doesn't he know enough already? And why should we have to pay for anyways?
  • Have you ever grumbled over the pastor's wages, and what does he mean he needs time off?
  • _____________?????
These things are STUPID, wrong, SINFUL! That's not being respectful or honouring.

I've been there. I still am there sometimes. It's not okay folks. It's not what we are called of God to do. We need to respect and honour those who are ruling well and who are teaching us more about the God that we all serve. We need to show them love and concern and when we don't ... we need to confess that sin before God.

How will you (I) show that we respect and honour our teaching and preaching elders this week?

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