Tomorrow I will be ordained as an elder in my church. Since God has put
leadership in my life and on my heart, today we will read passages related
to that. The Bible has vital instructions for those of us who are leaders;
we are held to strict standards. And it also has things to say about how
we should treat our leaders - both in the church and government. All passages
are from the CEV.
Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called the disciples together
and said: "You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like
to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over
the people they rule. But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you
must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must
be everyone's slave."
1 Peter 5:1-4 Church leaders, I am writing to encourage
you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ's suffering, and I
will share in his glory when it is shown to us. Just as shepherds watch over
their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do
it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you
must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely
to make money. Don't be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set
an example for them. Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will
be given a crown that will never lose its glory.
1 Timothy 3:1-10 It is true that anyone who desires to
be a church official wants to be something worthwhile. That's why officials
must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage. They must be
self-controlled, sensible, well-behaved, friendly to strangers, and able
to teach. They must not be heavy drinkers or troublemakers. Instead, they
must be kind and gentle and not love money. Church officials must be in control
of their own families, and they must see that their children are obedient
and always respectful. If they don't know how to control their own families,
how can they look after God's people? They must not be new followers of the
Lord. If they are, they might become proud and be doomed along with the devil.
Finally, they must be well-respected by people who are not followers. Then
they won't be trapped and disgraced by the devil. Church officers should
be serious. They must not be liars, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money.
And they must have a clear conscience and hold firmly to what God has shown
us about our faith. They must first prove themselves. Then if no one has
anything against them, they can serve as officers.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 17 My friends, we ask you to
be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for
the Lord. Show them great respect and love because of their work.
17 Church leaders who do their job well deserve to be paid twice
as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching.
1 Corinthians 16:15a-16 My friends, I ask you to obey
leaders like them and to do the same for all others who work hard with you.
1 Timothy 5:19-20 Don't listen to any charge against a
church leader, unless at least two or three people bring the same charges.
But if any of the leaders should keep on sinning, they must be corrected
in front of the whole group, as a warning to everyone else.
Romans 13:1-8 Obey the rulers who have authority over
you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their
places of power. People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God
has done, and they will be punished. Rulers are a threat to evil people,
not to good people. There is no need to be afraid of the authorities. Just
do right, and they will praise you for it. After all, they are God's servants,
and it is their duty to help you. If you do something wrong, you ought
to be afraid, because these rulers have the right to punish you. They are
God's servants who punish criminals to show how angry God is. But you should
obey the rulers because you know it is the right thing to do, and not just
because of God's anger. You must also pay your taxes. The authorities are
God's servants, and it is their duty to take care of these matters. Pay all
that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor.