Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 11, 1968
NUMBER 35, PAGE 8b-9a

Elders That Rule Well - Worthy Of Honor

Leo B. Plyer

The work of elders is a great work. It is great because it has the welfare of souls in its charge. Elders watch in behalf of our souls (Heb. 13:17). If we count the work of an M.D. valuable, let us recognize the office of those who perform the good work (I Tim. 3:1) of the bishop greater.

Do we give the elders that rule well the honor they are due? Let us not lose sight of our responsibility to such elders. While we may know of some occasion or "elders" who were spoilers of the vineyard, let us not fail to hold in honor this great work and those faithful godly men who are now "ruling well." (I Tim. 5:17). It is possible for us to fail to "count worthy of honor" such brethren especially when we hear of and see those who are not "tending the flock of God." (I Pet. 5:2). But we should not judge all by some who have left a "bad taste in our mouth" through corrupting the office.

If we who preach do not occasionally have someone give us a word of encouragement and appreciation we likely will begin to think it time to go along to some other work. But what about the elders who for years have the burdens of the congregation, the problems of the members and the work of the kingdom tugging and weighing heavily upon their heart? How long has it been since we commended the preacher for the lessons he presented? Perhaps not long! But how long has it been since we expressed appreciation to the elders for their work of "watching in behalf" of our souls?

The elder has his family to look after and most of them have the need of holding a job which demands his time and energy. Then on top of this comes the weighty responsibility of which he must give "account" to God. (Heb. 13:17). Now, how often does he receive a token of appreciation from us for this momentous task? And how often do we ask if we can help them in some way? Is it then a wonder that we find so few men preparing themselves to serve as God's shepherds?

As most of my work has been where there were no elders, how many times we have and do see the need and value of elders to feed and tend the flock of God. (Acts 20:28, I Peter 5:3). There is a great need now of such qualified men. Are we taking steps to meet the need? Are we who are preachers, you who are wives and all of us as members working to meet the need? Many who are parents would like to see our sons make doctors and our daughters become the wife of a good doctor, but such work as that is for the benefit of the body which is destined to return to the dust. (Eccl. 12:7) How much greater the service of serving in the behalf of man's soul which will exist forever!

While there is the need of teaching, encouraging and preparing men to desire the office of the bishop, perhaps the place to really begin is to "let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor" now. (I Tim. 5:17).

We conclude with Paul's words, "But we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work's sake." (I Thess. 5:12-13).

7473 Jerry Drive, West Chester, Ohio