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Why Pastors Deserve Honor From Church Members

Introduction

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (I Tim. 5:17,18)

The careful student of the Bible understands that when “elder” or “elders” is used in the New Testament that it’s typically speaking of pastors. The text leaves no doubt that this is the case in the verses above (i.e. – “rule well,” “labour in the word and doctrine”).

Under the inspiration of God, Paul wrote that faithful pastors are “worthy of double honor” (vs. 17). Most involved with independent Baptist churches are highly supportive of their pastors and gladly submit to his God-given leadership role. However, anyone is susceptible to developing a wrong attitude towards his or her pastor. There are few things more harmful and dangerous to the local church than a wrong heart about the pastor because unless corrected it will eventually bring some degree of discord and division.

What follows isn’t an exhaustive coverage of “Why Pastors Deserve Honor From Their Church Members;”  however, it should be more than enough to convince any humble believer of his or her need to do so.

Pastors deserve honor for their “work’s sake”

I Thessalonians 5:12,13 says, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”

Here we see that honoring a pastor isn’t so much about “who he is” as a person, but “what he does” alluding to his God-ordained office. The carnal mainly esteem pastors for humanistic things such as doing and saying what pleases and gratifies them. In verse 13 we see that the spiritual esteem pastors “very highly in love for their work’s sake.”

What comprises the works of the pastor?

Well, as the elder (ruler), bishop (overseer) and under-shepherd (leader) the pastor’s works involve the mission and welfare of the local church. He’s to lead the church to follow God and His Word in carrying out the most paramount mission which exists, propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of this his works also entail following the Lord’s leadership in the care of the church which includes trying to help all members to grow in Christ, doing whatever’s required to ensure that sound doctrine and practice are maintained, leading in bringing forth God-honoring services, overseeing business matters, and a whole myriad of other duties.

So, since the works of the pastor involve the mission and welfare of the local church, the members need to do everything the Bible and Holy Spirit direct in order to help him, including giving him a high degree of esteem and honor.

Esteeming and honoring the pastor have to do with actively demonstrating great respect for his under-shepherd role, which inherently includes willingly submitting to his God-given leadership.

The word “rule” seen in I Timothy 5:17 means just what it says, “rule.” It speaks of “presiding over” and “having the care of.” Obviously, it’s indicating that the pastor has the undisputed leadership role.

The thing is, when a person or persons don’t highly esteem the pastor — when people don’t provide him with the proper respect through attitudes and actions — it hinders his work, which “is unprofitable” to the church and the entire cause of Christ. Pay careful attention to what it says in Hebrews 13:17, “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.”

Remember, the pastor’s work is the mission and welfare of the church, so when a member doesn’t respect him and his office, but instead resists and rebels against his God-appointed and anointed leadership, the work of that entire local body of Christ is hindered. And guess what can happen when such disrespect of pastors grows within churches?

Those churches may be destroyed, at least as true New Testament Churches.

Who was the first in history to refuse to esteem and honor the One in spiritual leadership over him? It was Lucifer, the devil. So who is the church member emulating when he or she has a wrong attitude toward the pastor? Yeah, that’s right!

Folks, what is the devil always trying to do to churches? He and his forces are continually seeking to hinder and destroy. The serpent will be very happy to use you to try to run off God’s man and tear apart the Lord’s church. Only a lost person could enjoy being used in such a way. Christian, don’t ever allow yourself to become a pawn of the devil against Christ’s church!

Part II

A church cannot possibly be of one accord, of one heart, and of one soul for the Lord unless every member has the proper attitudes and actions of respect for the pastor. (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32,33)

A church cannot possibly be of one accord, of one heart, and of one soul for the Lord unless every member has the proper attitudes and actions of respect for the pastor. (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32,33)

We can become so consumed with self that we refuse to see the biggest and most important picture. The mission and welfare of God’s church are much more vital than anyone’s personal whims, fancies and feelings! Every Christian must fight self. We must always love the Lord and His church enough to get “me” and “I” out of the way so that we can see and focus on the biggest and most important picture – the mission and welfare of the Church of Jesus Christ!

Pastors deserve honor for the Lord’s sake

You know, when one gets right down to it, to refuse the proper respect to a God-called pastor is to disrespect the Lord Almighty Himself. First, it disrespects God’s plan and organization. The Lord’s plan has always involved using under-shepherds in the position of spiritual leadership (i.e. – Moses, Joshua, the Judges, prophets, priests, several Hebrew kings).

To the God Who is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), all believers are equal in person, but we’re ordained to different roles. As much as some folks might desire the leadership role in the church, it’s clearly and undeniable bestowed upon the pastor by the Lord Himself. Filled with pride many believe that they can improve on God’s plan which gives rise to board-run churches, committee-run churches, domineering man or woman run churches, family-run churches and devil-run churches.

I Corinthians 14:33 tells us “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” In verse 40 we read, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

When there’s rebellion against a faithful pastor’s leadership, when there is slander being brought forth about him within the church, when a certain member or members are dedicated to getting their way, it certainly doesn’t bring peace. Rather, it brings chaos. We know that God isn’t the author of chaos, so who is?

Secondly, refusing proper respect to a God-called pastor disrespects the Lord by disregarding His Word. How can someone who truly fears God read Proverbs 6:16-19 and still possess a wrong attitude towards his or her pastor? There we read these words, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Not honoring pastors brings discord to churches; and God hates sowers of discord.

Pastors deserve honor for the church’s sake

If the church member believes that the pastor has offended him or her in some way, or done some grievous wrong, the Bible explains what to do. (Matt. 18:15-17) Jesus taught that we’re to “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Why is it then that folks usually go to everyone except the pastor to tell about his alleged fault(s)?

We should strive to be 100 percent behind the pastor. If someone comes with complaints about him, you should immediately tell them that you don’t want to hear it, and to take the matter to the pastor alone, not to anyone else.

If fact, for the welfare of the Lord’s church, those who even smell the slightest stink of discord from anyone should be quick to report it to the pastor so that he can deal with the situation. Certainly the welfare of the church should be of much higher priority than any human relationship.

The Scriptures describe the devil as a “roaring lion.” Have you ever seen how elephants protect the herd from lions? The most mature males and females will band together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to form a near half-circle wall. Inside the wall will be their immature and babies. Guess what happens? The lions back away!

Church members need to take a lesson from the elephants and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the pastor against those whom the “roaring lion” would use to attack. Have you noticed that it’s almost always the immature and baby Christians who are the first to be devoured? How utterly heart-breaking and angering! How dare any church allow it to happen!

Conclusion

Honoring or not honoring a pastor really comes down to a person’s heart. Those who are humble and seek to be servants will have little trouble submitting to a Godly pastor’s leadership. Those who are prideful and seek to have their own ways will not properly submit to a pastor’s leadership until they get their hearts right with God.

Indeed, we should love the Lord and our pastor so much that we love him as Jonathan loved David. Do you know what I mean? By the way things operated, Jonathan was supposed to be the next king of Israel after his father Saul would die. However, even knowing that David would still get that honor instead of himself, Jonathan stood behind the one who God had called to that position. (I Samuel 23:16-18)

The church member who truly loves God will love his pastor as he loves his own soul. Rather than tearing him down to people, we should stand up for him if anyone ever dares to disparage him, raising up in righteous anger against such enemies of the church.

(II Thess. 3:1) Let us hold up our pastors, their wives, and children in fervent prayer everyday. Let us seek to encourage them often. And, let us have the courage to stand up for them whenever anyone would seek to tear them down.

 “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” (I Thess. 5:12,13)