Attitude Toward Spiritual Leadership, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
These 16 verses are so jam packed with truth that we will be taking a few days to work through them. Let's begin with verses 12-13 regarding how we are to respond to those in leadership over us. "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over 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."
The Apostle Paul reiterates this again in 1 Timothy 5:17-19. The topic of respecting and honoring the spiritual leaders in the church is also seen in Hebrews 13:17. Strong words are used such as obey, submit, respect the leaders. But how is this done properly and in godly order. First, each of us, whether in leadership or not, obey, submit, and respect our God. We are first and foremost responsible personally in our walks with Christ, to hold our Lord in the highest of high regards and love. This includes being faithful to the Word of the Lord and its truths. Secondly, as a church, we are to be responsive to God's Word and remain faithful to it. The final thought is in regard to human leaders in the church.
According to Ephesians 4:11-13, God has raised up in the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to prepare God's people for works of service and to build each up in their spiritual lives. The foundation of this is that the spiritual leaders, along with those they lead, would continue to grow into a mature faith and promote a spirit of unity on the path of deeper and deeper spiritual growth.
There is much more that could probably be said, but what would be the pastor's desire in regard to these verses? I cannot speak for other pastor's, but I would desire that those under my care would be so in love with Jesus that it would be natural to love, honor and respect the pastoral leadership and to pray that he/she would live a life that exemplifies a mature spiritual walk and a fervent love for others.
Pastor's are to hold the responsibility of serving God's people seriously so that no harm comes to them and God's people are to pray for and honor the pastors and spiritual leaders in such a way that the call of God is not hindered through unfounded accusations (1 Timothy 5:19).