I Thessalonians 5:12-13
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”
I Thess. 5:12-12
I get my inspiration from an article written by John MacArthur about the ten reasons why he was a pastor published in Masterpiece.
: I am a pastor because of a deep sense of
to do so!
Macarthur’s: Number nine: I’m afraid not to be a pastor. And that’s the truth. When I was 18, God threw me out of a car going 70 miles an hour. I landed on my backside and slid 110 yards on the pavement. By the grace of God, I wasn’t killed, and by the grace of God, I was committed to become a pastor, because prior to that I knew the Lord had called me to that. And that’s all right.
: I am a pastor because I love people!
: I am a pastor because I believe God has gifted me with the ability to communicate the Good News.
: I am a pastor because I love truth!
: I am a pastor because I am a protector by nature.
: I am a pastor because I love being in community!
: I am a pastor because I love the challenge!
Now let’s go to the responsibility of the sheep to their shepherds. And this is very, very basic. I mean, the church has to know this. This is the bottom line in our relationship together.
Sometimes sheep can be very hard on shepherds
. Somebody said, “We think sheep are cuddly little creatures, because the only ones we ever deal with are stuffed.” That’s true. If you’ve ever worked with sheep, and I have been exposed to them just enough to know they are
weak, helpless, unorganized, prone to wander, demanding, dirty, and have sharp hooves
. And when the Lord was describing us as sheep, He was talking about sheep as sheep, not sheep as stuffed animals.
Sheep can make life joyless for the shepherd if they don’t follow the path of their duty. They can make life miserable if they’re not obedient
So let’s look at the three characteristics or principles that we’re enjoined as sheep toward our shepherds. (John MacCarthur writes these).
The word “appreciate” for a moment is
in the Greek; it means “to know.” It is a common word used all over the New Testament for “to know.”
But it means the kind of knowledge that comes by experience; to have learned to know, to have come to know, to by experience to arrive at knowledge
. And here it has the idea of a deep knowledge, and a knowledge that includes in it respect and appreciation; to know and to value is the implication of it here. Perhaps the best translation is the word “to appreciate.” Another one might be that you value those who diligently labor among you, that you respect those who diligently labor among you.
It doesn’t mean to know their names, not that kind of simplistic knowledge. It doesn’t mean to know just the names of their children, or their wife, or their zip code, or where they live, or whatever school they graduated from, or what kind of car they drive, or whatever. It means that you have come into a deep and intimate personal acquaintance that leads to appreciation.
Now, this is very much like the first one, not a lot of difference; to esteem,
, means to consider or to regard; to think. It means to go a little deeper than the first duty, because it says you are to esteem them how – very highly. You know what that is in the Greek? Beyond all measure – beyond all measure. And then the key word: “in love – in love, because of their work.” Not because of their personality – this is not a personality contest – because of their work. You are to regard them beyond all measure. You are to regard a faithful pastor beyond all measure. The point is there’s no limit. There’s no limit to the regard you ought to have for that man, to the love you ought to have for that man. You are to love that man.
What does love mean? It means sacrificial service to him. It means affection for him. Not because of his personality, not because he’s done favors for you, but because of his work – because he ministers to you the Word of God, because he feeds your needy soul. In Galatians you would notice, chapter 4 and verse 14, Paul says, “That which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you didn’t despise or loathe.” Paul had some bodily condition that made him repulsive to be around, and he says, “You didn’t loathe that.” There was nothing attractive about the man, nothing at all. “You didn’t loathe it. You received me as an angel of God. You received me as Christ Jesus Himself.”
That’s the spirit. That’s the attitude. No matter what the personality, no matter what might be the things that would not be welcomed, such as some loathsome disease, “you received me as if I were an angel of God or Christ Himself.” And then he says in verse 15, “If possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.” It may have been, some think it was that he had some ugly, oozing eye disease. And he says, “You would have taken your own eyes right out of your own sockets and given them to me, if you could’ve.”
Now, that’s esteeming beyond all measure. “You loved me in spite of what was loathsome about my condition.
There is nothing more grieving, more distracting, more difficult, more painful than discord in the church. That concept of living in peace with one another is a very familiar New Testament exhortation. We know about it. It’s all over the New Testament, and you can find it in
2 Corinthians 13:11
– over and over again, the New Testament calls for peace. But here it’s very specific. Here it is in this context of the relation between the sheep and the shepherd, and it should be a peaceful one. Submit to your shepherds, is the point. Submit. No strife. Eliminate conflict. Obviously, it presupposes a faithful shepherd. And where a man is faithful in doing the best that he can in the strength of the Spirit of God, you
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