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Good Leadership

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NIV


Janice and I went to the Topsfield Fair on Friday. It is worth the drive if you like 4-H fairs and have never been. One of the barns we went in was the Rabbits and Cavies (guinea pigs). In one of the cages was a mother with her young pups. When mom got up to eat, the babies came chasing after her; whether for the security of being near her or looking to nurse wasn't clear; however, they followed closely on her heels.


In this letter to Thessalonica, Paul encourages the church to obey church leadership and hold them in esteem. But they are not to do this unthinkingly. Unlike the pups who were instinctively following their mother, the church was to exercise godly wisdom in the following.


How do we know this? First, we see the qualification "in the Lord." If the caretaker–shepherd–says and does things counter to the gospel, they should not be followed. It is not a "do as I say, not as I do" type of leadership, but one of example. Of course, on the part of the laity, there should be room for forgiveness and grace in the following. The best of the shepherds are still human; they still err; however, when there is a consistent wrongness, and their lives are not compatible with the teaching of Jesus, it becomes time for a realignment in the body. But when that caretaker preaches the good news, even though the message may sometimes be hard to hear, the church should receive the admonishment with the heart in which it is given–a place of God's love.


The second qualification is "because of their work." In other words, what are our shepherds doing? What they are doing may not be consistent with what we think they should be doing–more importantly, are their actions consistent with the teachings of Christ? Are they exhibiting the love of Christ inside and outside the church? When they do, they are worthy of the flock's esteem.


We arrive at that last phrase, "Live in peace with each other." The function of the church is to fulfill Christ's commission, "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. "(Matthew 28:19-20) We do that by being united in peace–leadership, and congregation–to bring about God's kingdom on earth.


God, thank you for godly leaders, those men and women who teach the truth and seek to live according to your will. We pray for their well-being physically and spiritually. As a church, help us to accept admonishment with grace when given in love and hold our leaders in high regard. Please help us to recognize the truth of your word as it is taught and see the actions of your work. Grant that we may live peaceably as a cohesive body to fulfill your commission. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Blessings,

Pastor Tim



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