OBEYING SPIRITUAL LEADERS
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17
As growing Christians, we want all of our relationships to be governed by the principles of the Scripture. This includes our relationship to our spiritual leaders. We can personally testify to the tremendous influence of godly leaders in our lives. Our spiritual values, commitments, and convictions have been shaped by those who have stood before us, and led us according to the Scriptures. For this, we are immensely grateful. We owe a great debt to the pastors who have given us the Word of God and cared for our souls, and for their commitment to preaching the truth and their example of godly leadership. Though we have never met a perfect preacher, we have been privileged to know many sincere men of God who were faithful to their calling.
According to the Bible, God should be the One Who places pastors over His churches. When Paul was speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he said, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Our text teaches us that because they are God’s appointed leaders, we are to obey them, respect them, and submit to their God-given authority. Obviously, this does not teach a blind loyalty to pastors that would disregard things such as false teaching and immoral conduct. Shepherds are to watch for our souls, to give us sound advice, to protect us from spiritual danger, and to lead us according to the Word of God. We have every reason to believe that God will lead us through them as they follow the Lord and seek His direction. These godly leaders will one day give an account to God for their spiritual leadership.
There are many ways in which we can encourage and help the pastor. Pray for your spiritual leaders and their families regularly. Be available to serve and assist where needed. Be responsive to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Never be a part of undermining or criticizing the pastor. Appreciate and verbally encourage him for his ministry in the Lord.