Respecting Leaders in the Church

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13a, ‘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.’


Observations: Paul moves onto his closing remarks (v12-28), and firstly he wants to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica to respect their leaders. He refers to these leaders as those ‘who work hard among you,’ as those ‘who are over you in the Lord,’ and as those ‘who admonish you.’ There is an expectation that leaders ‘work hard,’ that they are diligent in fulfilling God’s calling in their lives. But there is also the recognition that they have been given authority, the fact that they are ‘over’ others. The word literally means to ‘stand before,’ and is often used of leaders. As leaders in the church they have been given authority to ‘admonish’ God’s people. This word can be used in both a positive way i.e. to instruct, exhort, and in a negative way i.e. to admonish, or warn. Because of their work they are to ‘hold them in the highest regard in love.’ They aren’t just to respect their leaders, they are to love them. And this isn’t the love of brothers, but the love that gives of oneself for the sake of others.


Application: Firstly, who are your leaders? Who are the people in your life who work hard for you, whom God has placed over you, who teach and admonish you in the Lord? Secondly, do you love and respect those people? Do you make it easy for them recognizing the authority God has given them? Do you listen to their instruction? If you were to rate your attitude towards the leaders in our church where would you put it on a scale of 1 to 10?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the truth is that in our culture we don’t respect those who are in authority over us. Lord, forgive me when I don’t hold those over me in the highest regard because of their work. Lord, help me to love them and listen to them. Also Lord, help me to be a good leader in your church. Help me to work hard in people’s lives. Give me the words to words that they need to hear. Help me to lead in a way that brings honour and glory to your name. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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