a elder of a house church wrote this short thought, I really thought it was well written and should be shared.
1 Thessalonians 5:12… But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in Peace with One another
When we read this passage there are a few things that we must note. First off one of the biggest challenges that the world faces today is respect for Authority. Very easily people are quick to discredit those who have worked hard to be in the position they have attained. It says that in the last days that people will have no respect for authority, and will rebel against them. Unfortunately this also is happening in the church and must be a topic that is spoken about. Quickly people forget the labor of love and sacrifice a minister makes in order for us to partake of the blessing. While we are at home doing our own thing, a minister is not. Very likely they have left their family in order to tend to some need, or spend time in ministry and prayer. Even the Apostles said in Acts 6:2, it is not wise for us to wait on tables, but let us devote ourselves to ministry of prayer and the word. We must also recognize that the gospel went out to the whole world from these men, and not those who were at home doing their own thing. We all can be a part of Christ’s body, and can share the gospel, and our lives with those around us, but the Word of God and the ministry of his word is only given to certain men, faithful men. When the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were selected for the work that God had chosen them to do, they were selected from a group of men. This shows that these men were different than the others, and had been found faithful for the task. In our churches as well these men have been chosen of the Lord, and we must be careful we don’t disrespect these men, or underappreciate them, as they have neglected even their own lives to do the will of God and to serve us. By them making this sacrifice we now get to partake of this benefit. Let us remember that these men and women (in context Rom 16:6,12), are worthy of double honor and high esteem, and we should not treat them lightly, but with appreciation, as they are the ones who are leading and guiding us.
As the world today rebels against governments, public services, and ultimately even God, this type of Spirit can even enter the church. In church history we see many examples of rebellion against authority and they are written for our example. Especially when it comes to leaders, we must exercise much caution in how we portray them. The devil is most eagerly waiting to use someone to attack their reputation and honor, and will not stop until that takes place, so we must be cautious that we do not work alongside the devil and this spirit. If we want to display the Glory of God and live at peace, then we need to pray for these men who work hard at preaching and teaching. We pray not only for their safety and protection, for strength and help, but also that they might be bold in the way that preach, and that the Lord would make it clear how they ought to speak. Some of us think it is boring to listen to a certain preacher, or we might know better than them, but none of us actually pray for them as the word of God has instructed us. (Ephesians 6:19). Another example of under appreciation is the Apostle Paul with the churches that he planted. With the Galatian Church and the Corinth Church they both lost respect for him and did not treat him as an Apostle. Other men had crept in and perverted the gospel that had been delivered, and because the people did not appreciate him properly, they were quick to desert him. Just because you may like another preacher or pastor more than your pastor does not mean that the one you like is right. How many times did Paul have to say, you have countless tutors but not many fathers? (1 Corinthians 4:15). The other “tutors” were not better than Paul, but the people liked them more because they underappreciated their “father.” Let us examine our hearts and see if we too under appreciate these men, and see if our attitude to the better preacher might be because of this.
Lastly, these types of issues will always occur in a church, as they always occur in a home. The last part of this verse says this, “Let us live in peace with one another.” In order for there to be peace in a church, or in a home, there has to be order. In order for there to be order, there has to be honor. The husband must honor the Lord by his hard work, and laying down his life in order to raise the family. The wife must honor the Lord by honoring the husband, and must show appreciation for that hard work. The children must honor the Lord by honoring their parents, submitting to them, and thanking them for the sacrifices they have made. If any of these get misplaced, starting first from the husband, then the order will be thrown off. But if they are kept in order, then the peaceful fruit of righteousness will come. The same principle applies to the church. Let us search our own hearts to see if we have not been appreciating those over us and let us thank the Lord for these brethren.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon