“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
One of our deacons made some remarks at the close of service yesterday about this text. I had preached from 1 Samuel 16 and God’s calling of David, which included a lesson on Samuel’s authority and the respect Israelites had for him (See 1 Sam 16:4).
The brother’s admonition put some thoughts in my mind.
1. Take very seriously what your pastor says, especially if admonishing you about a sin issue. Don’t shrug it off. He isn’t a tyrant dictator, but he is to be a leader in the flock. God has given him this authority.
2. Your pastor gives account to God for your behavior. We report your condition to the Father and pray for you. We’re also accountable to call you out if wrong or lend a helping hand. I’m sure we’d much rather never be controversial but we have no choice. See Ezekiel chapter 3.
3. In the end, responding to your pastor’s exhortation is up to you. We can’t repent for you. Nor can we help if you don’t let us.
4. A true God-called man is deeply affected by your response to his message. That’s just the way it is. We’ll either rejoice or mourn – and many times we do both simultaneously.
5. A discouraged pastor cannot profit the flock. Period. To get the most out of your pastor’s ministry, heed his preaching. Dissatisfied with his service? Imagine how much less satisfied you’ll be when he can’t live up to his true potential because of discouragement.
Finally, a few verses prior in Hebrews 13, Paul also said to “remember” these same men who serve in the gospel. The best way to remember us is to pray for us, as we live to serve God and you, which is rarely an easy thing for a sinner to do.
To end on a humorous note: If you think we’re ineffective now, just wait until we’re discouraged. Hah! Get the most out of your pastor by taking heed to his preaching.
Originally published November 2015