Watching Over Us
Last week I shared a story with you that I finish our new members class with, but just moments before that, I like to share a little bit about a verse that is of great benefit to anyone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, on his walk with Him. As we walk by faith in Him, forsaking all else to follow Him, how can we best make it from first being filled with the Holy Spirit until the day we meet Jesus Christ face to face? No verse has given me direction for the success I have found on my journey as a sojourner in this land than that of Hebrews 13:17, it is the one verse I owe so much to if I had to pick out just one.
"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would not be profitable for you." In most cases I believe, you probably do not pick out your leaders, God leads you by His providence to them. It was that way for me, I knew of none. The English Puritan Thomas Watson writes, "We are fed every day out of the charity basket of God's providence. Our health and our wealth are not our diligence, but God's providence. God's providence may sometimes be secret, but it is always wise."
So the leaders you believe God has led you to, how do you relate to them, what can you expect from them, and how important is it to stay in touch with them? These Pastors, leaders, are a big part of you becoming all Christ wants you to be as a disciple of His. The Word says we must obey them and submit to them. And why is this, the Word says that they keep watch over your souls as they must give an account to the "great Shepherd of the sheep, to the Chief Shepherd." The Greek word for watch, is unique here, denoting a state of being sleepless, to keep awake. While others are not awake, not watchful, not alert, they need to be. To take care of your souls, to keep them from evil, sin, and backsliding, to instruct them, and feed them, to encourage their obedience and faith, and so lead them to eternal rest.
English Puritan John Owen says, "They must give an account to Jesus Christ for the work they have been entrusted with. If those in their care thrive, if they flourish, if they go on to maturity, they give an account of this, and thank Christ for the work of the Spirit and grace among them. If those in their care are diseased, slothful, and have fallen into sinful ways, they still give an account to Jesus Christ. They spread this before Him, mourning with grief and sorrow." I have received much counsel in 35 years from the Pastors at GCC, with God glorifying results, I encourage you to look to the Pastors for spiritual and physical direction in your lives, as they are providentially placed to do just that for you, having been equipped by the Holy One for your benefit. What a blessing they have been to me!
Elder Randy Slak