1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Memorise 1 Thessalonians 5:12
“Know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord,…”
In this verse, Paul used three expressions to describe the church leaders.
Firstly, these leaders “labour among you”. “Labour” in this verse means work hard. This hard work is not only physical (spending their free time in serving the church, instead of on their pleasures and hobbies) but also spiritual (studying God’s word diligently, knowing the church members, and praying for them).
Secondly, they are “over you”. Christian leaders are those who are over you in the Lord. True, the very first thing which needs to be said about Christian ministers of all kinds is that they are “under” people (as their servants) rather than “over” them (as their leaders, let alone their lords). The chief characteristic of Christian leaders is humility not authority, and gentleness not power. Nevertheless, authentic servant-leadership still carries an element of authority”.
Thirdly, “admonish you”. This of course refers to church discipline.
So – how should I relate to the leaders?
Firstly, “know” them. The bible refers to the church as the “household of God”. This is a lovely picture! A church should not be a place where you just slip in on Sunday morning, and slip out again after service, without knowing or talking to anybody else! We should regard other members as part of the family, and we can do so only if we “know them”.
Secondly, verse 13 says we should “esteem” them i.e. respect them.
Many of us are too shy to get to know people. But for the sake of our Lord, we should “know” and “esteem” our church leaders.
Thought: Do our leaders “labour” (work hard) for the church? Do they admonish us when we go wrong? (Or are they trying to be too nice?)
Prayer: Lord, I pray that our leaders would be godly and labour with love for Your church, and that I would play my part in encouraging them.