Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
In just a few days, we will take time to honor our mothers and grandmothers. Not too many weeks following, we will honor our fathers and grandfathers. Within the local congregation, we honor our Bible class teachers, new members, youth, graduates, senior saints, and on and on the list could go. I think it is appropriate to give honor to whom honor is due, and every member of the congregation has something worthwhile to recognize and appreciate. That being said, when was the last time your congregation had a time set aside to recognize the elders/bishops/pastors/shepherds? The men who have taken upon them the task of watching for our souls (Heb.13:17) are often the least appreciated and the most criticized members of any congregation. I am grateful for my shepherds. They care for our souls. I am often allowed a view of their lives and work that others do not get to see. I know their concern for the souls of each member. I see them struggle over decisions that, no matter what decision they reach, will leave someone (or many) upset. I hear them pray fervently for the lost and the wayward, the sick, the bereaved, and those who are struggling with various issues of life. I sometimes accompany them to the hospital, the nursing home, the funeral home, and the homes of those who are hurting. I have seen them weep over those who are no longer faithful to Jesus. I have been with them as they agonized over the right thing to do in a particular situation. They are not a board of directors. They are our protectors, our watchmen, our providers. They want us to be faithful and go to heaven. And, they are willing to lead us to this end. They are not perfect, but they are faithful. Because of the seriousness of the task they have assumed, we owe them our love and respect. God bless godly elders!
“Father, thank you for sending your Son to be the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Thank you for your great wisdom in allowing faithful, godly men to help guide us in your way. Help us to be faithful to you so that they may watch for our souls with joy and not with grief. Bless those who shepherd us, and bless their godly wives and children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”