Isaiah 50-52 1 Thessalonians 5
“Now, brothers and sisters, we ask you to appreciate those who work hard among you, who lead you in the Lord and teach you. Respect them with a very special love because of the work they do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NCV)
Paul left leaders in the churches he established. These leaders were to teach and preach and do all the work of a pastor. They’d minister to people in need. In most cases, they were bi-vocational. They were probably struggling to learn the truths of the gospel, dealing with the heretical traveling teachers who sought to drag new Christians into the bondage of legalism, and helping evangelize and train new Christians in the faith, all while trying to make a living. I’m guessing that they might have made a few mistakes along the way because even then, they weren’t perfect. It’s so easy to make mistakes, and if you make one mistake and do ten other things right, people remember the mistake. Paul’s message to those with mistake memory was that they should appreciate and honor those who led and taught them.
My pastor might point out that these leaders had two advantages that today’s pastors don’t have: they didn’t have to worry about air conditioning, nor did they need to worry about parking lots. Our leaders in the faith have so many concerns that we don’t even know about. I have friends who have been prevented from returning to countries where they were leading fellow Christians in the faith. The worries of our leaders compound and grow, especially when they’re bi-vocational like Paul and many of the other early church leaders were. October is Clergy Appreciation Month. I point that out because even while it’s always appropriate to let those who lead you in the faith know that you appreciate them, this month is an especially great time to do that. You’ve got two weeks left in this month to take advantage of this celebration. Let those who labor for the Lord on your behalf know how much you appreciate them.
Lord, You have blessed me with some amazing leaders in the faith. I’m grateful for those on staff at the church where I worship. I’m grateful for those who have given their lives and endured hardships of various kinds so that they could serve You. Bless those who lead and teach others about You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.