• Chris Steele

Giving Thanks for Our Elders

Chris' Corner -- November 21, 2021


Giving thanks and expressing appreciation should be our mindset throughout the year. How often do we slide through our days without saying the words we need to say? The important people in our lives will never know how we feel.

A congregation with elders is fortunate. Some don’t have shepherds to watch over the sheep. Without elders, the Lord’s people are vulnerable to “savage wolves” coming in “not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).

We appoint men as elders who function as overseers or bishops (Acts 20:28). We are grateful to them for watching over and protecting the flock—making decisions affecting those souls under their care (Hebrews 13:7, 17). They tend to the financial affairs of the church and decide on mission efforts to support. Their many labors make them “worthy of double honor” (1 Timothy 5:17).

Elders function as shepherds or pastors (1 Peter 2:25). We appreciate them for voluntarily taking the tremendous responsibility of caring for the well-being of those under their care. “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Hebrews 13:7).

With such an attitude, each member of the congregation will receive this oversight submissively. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

These are direct commands from God. In a military setting, we would have no choice but to submit to a commanding officer, regardless of what we think of him. Christians are soldiers of the cross, but we are also children of God—members of the body of Christ, the church. We obey the commands of God because we love Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

We love God’s will. “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). We love the family of God and the elders who oversee it. We’re not in competition with them. We serve together in a functioning body of various parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Here Paul says we don’t all have the same position in the body.

A body of elders (an eldership) functions as a presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14) and deserves respect for their scriptural maturity and experience. How grateful we are for those men! Elders face serious challenges. They bear much weight on their shoulders. We can show our thankfulness by standing by their side, assisting them, not only in our prayers but by our words and actions, letting them know we care.

Our elders serve faithfully 24-7. Surely, we can take a moment in our day to offer words of thanksgiving to God for these men and the blessing they are to us. Prayer has a way of keeping important things from slipping into the ordinary. Remember, gratitude needs to be expressed in words and deeds. Otherwise, it will not be known.

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