I was reading the Bible today and was challenged by I Thessalonians 5:12-14. I hope that it will challenge you in some way as well.
It says –
In verse 14, it says that “we” (Paul, Silas, and Timothy – 1:1) urges the church to…
1. Warn those who are idle (stagnant, just going through the motions but never
going in motion, revving the engine but never moving, an anchor)
2. Encourage the timid (afraid, terrified, wuss of risk)
3. Help the weak (poor, needy, widows, orphans, hurting, sick, lonely, rejected,
4. Be patient with everyone (urge them with patience – not a guilt driven concept)
When you look at this list, it looks like the “supposed” job description of a pastor or person in vocational ministry. Who is Paul and friends writing to? Answer: “brothers” (church – not as an organization but as individuals).
As a pastor I love verses 12-13. If those who are “over you in the Lord” work hard and admonish the church, you are to hold them in highest regard. You can begin by kissing my ring! I am completely kidding! It does say though that you hold them in highest regard because of their work.
Why? Hebrews 13:17 points to the fact that they (pastors/leaders) do their
job as one that has the best interest of their lives at the forefront
of their minds.
The interesting thing about all of this though is that the people are supposed to be just as concerned about the progress of the church as its human leader. It is each believer’s responsibility to warn those are idle – some people need a kick in the butt for the glory of God. It is also each believer’s responsibility to encourage the timid – some people need a more subtle approach to help them be willing to take risks for the glory of God. It is also every believer’s responsibility to help the weak – not just missionaries or humanitarians but each of us do our part to help people see the glory of God through our acts of kindness. Lastly, it is every believer’s responsibility to be patient with everyone – let God accomplish the work in their lives or move them along for the glory of God.
How does the pastor and the believer work this together?
If the pastor is working hard at encouraging and equipping the church to follow God’s Word and do the work of the ministry (not just absorb the work of the ministry) and he is modeling the behavior himself, then he has done his part.
If the believer will warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone, then the church is beginning to be the church and not just go to church.
Let’s make a deal. Let’s commit together. I will turn the “if” into a “when” for myself and you do the same for yourself.
Striving to Live in Total Abandon…