Respecting and Encouraging Our Elders
Be Strong, Be Well — Sunday, November 29, 2020
In our Saturday prayer group, one of our men said, at this time in modern history, it is one of the most difficult in which to be an elder.
Just a casual reading of the qualifications of elders, tells us upfront the difficult nature of an eldership’s responsibilities. Being an elder of the church is a very trying, yet rewarding office to hold. Since doctrinal matters have already been decided by God in His Word, elders must make many heavy and consequential decisions in the area of expediency and opinion.
This year has been extreme for sure. It has seen unprecedented and challenging decisions made on every level of government. All of it has directly affected the government of the church in the work of elders.
We are allowed to criticize our civil government. It is a constitutional right. However, Christians must guard their attitude and actions, making sure to be peacemakers. We are commanded to live in peace with others as much as possible. In Romans 14:19, Paul said, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
Making peace and edifying are commands. How much more we should elevate these things in the church, the body of Christ. In the church, we are obligated to live without complaining. “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Philippians 2:14). Not only this, we are commanded to love our brethren (1 Peter 2:17). Our elders are our brethren also. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).
Elders were not forced to take the job of shepherding. They willingly volunteered to lead us in good times and bad. We are expected to receive their directives whether we like them or not, or whether we would have done things differently.
“Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct...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 13:7, 17).
May we stop and think about what we say and do, showing our elders love, honor, respect, and encouragement and not willfully cause them grief! —Chris