Monday, September 5, 2011

Honoring Elders and Others

1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.

I know of a pastor who had his clock cleaned by a lady in his church very recently. She believed she was doing what the Lord would have her to do and I think the pastor accepted it graciously. Lord knows, we pastors have our flaws and could use a little humility lesson from time to time.

This post is by no means "sour grapes." I just thought it interesting that I came across this verse while the incident was still so fresh on my mind.

The word "elder" here, refers not only to an older man, a senior by chronology, but to a presbyter. (presbuteros) That is a pastor. I believe church folk need to be careful about calling a pastor on the carpet about an issue, especially when that person is not fully aware of the whole story.

To rebuke means to chastise. It is a strong word, a stronger action. The flesh is quick to want to rebuke others and the flesh is also very loathsome of receiving chastisement. A spiritual person wrestles greatly with the duty to speak truth in love. Likewise, a spiritual person humbly considers their rebuke and accepts it for his or her own growth. It hurts for a person to be taken to the wood shed by other fallible people who are laden with their own hypocrisy. It even stings when the rebuke comes from a godly saint because none of us care to have our flaws exposed to the light of truth.

But a pastor? Here, we are dealing with an elder. If he is seeking God's will and has at heart the very best for his sheep, if he has good reason for doing what he did yet gets lambasted by one of the sheep? Well, sometimes matters like this are best left up to the Holy Spirit.

I can think of about 3 times in my 36 years of being a Christian and a church member that I have mildly rebuked, actually, merely fact-corrected, any of my pastors. Even then, my heart was smitten that I had taken it upon myself to correct the God-called man.

Personally, I don't take lightly our verse for today, nor the Old Testament admonition to "touch not mine anointed, neither do my prophets any harm."

If you ever find yourself in a position of needing to rebuke or of being rebuked, please be filled with the Spirit and pray for God's wisdom to accept your responsibility with godliness, humility and love.

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