Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good Advice-Honoring Our Leaders by Martin Wiles

Series: Good Advice

At 80 years of age, he sits at the helm of a world renowned ministry, has authored 40 books, and has pastored the same church-First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, United States, for 40 years. But his ascent to the top wasn’t without pain.

Charles Stanley initially arrived at First Baptist as Associate Pastor. When the senior pastor left, the church divided over whether he should assume the Senior Pastor position. Nasty battles ensued, including one where a member cursed aloud and slugged him on the jaw.

In 1993, Stanley faced what could have been a career altering crisis: his wife filed for divorce. Fellow pastors shunned him, and some recommended he resign. A number of parishioners attempted a coup d'├ętat, and even his own son suggested he resign. But Stanley believed God brought him there, and he wouldn’t step down unless God instructed.

Leaders have a tremendous responsibility and so do those they lead. Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance (I Thessalonians 5:12-13 NLT).

Paul probably references deacons and elders, but other biblical citations expand this to include pastors, missionaries and even government authorities. Whether we have a choice in who rules over us religiously or politically-or even whether we agree with their philosophies, isn’t the heart of the matter. As long as God allows them to occupy their position, we’re to respect, honor, love, and pray for them. If your leaders don’t have a personal relationship with Christ, pray that they would submit to his authority. If your spiritual leaders are making decisions you feel are unbiblical, pray for the ability to be patient and loving and to know how to approach them with godly wisdom. There’s normally some wiggle room in our search for common ground.  

Prayer: O Lord our Great Governor, grant to those who lead us a love for You and a love for others. Motivate us to pray for them that they would do Your will and learn to love truth and righteousness.