And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish (give direction) you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
These next verses in 1 Thessalonians (verses 12-22) are a comprehensive list of exhortations to the church. I will spend the next few doses unpacking these admonishings because I am quite sure they apply to us today just as much as they did to the church in Paul’s day. Today we are looking at verses 12 and 13. Paul starts out his list by talking about those who labor among us and are over us. In today’s church, this can be a long list of people ranging from pastors to small group leaders to team leaders of various teams within the church. Paul says to first of all recognize them. He does not say this with the intention of knowing who they are when you see them. He is saying to recognize they are there to help you grow spiritually and also as an authority to submit yourself to. He says to esteem or honor them very highly in love because they labor/serve for your benefit. They are serving as a leader in the church so that they can encourage and help you to grow strong in your faith. They are not doing it because of what they get out of it, especially if they are volunteers.
Next Paul says to be at peace among yourselves. That means when the leader is not around, you serve each other just as the leader would if they were with you all. You honor and respect your peers. Even if there are some that you don’t always see eye to eye with, make every effort to focus on the things you do agree on. Make it your goal in every relationship you have to turn your attention to the things that draw you closer together and to God not the topics that push your away from each other.
These are the heart and attitudes we are to take with our fellow believers. Our goal should always be to work together in agreement to get God’s plans accomplished here in this world. We are here for His honor and glory not our own. That is where we need to start in working with others.
Today I want to encourage you to recognize, acknowledge and identify those who labor and serve around you. Those who are in the Lord to help you grow in faith and lead you in the way to go. Begin to esteem them highly in love and be at peace with those around you. This is crucial behavior for the work of ministry. It is also vital to the plan of God for us to first love each other before we can love the lost and broken world.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22