Dec. 31, 2007
It's Your Job Too
1Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
It runs in my mind that I have heard someone quote this verse as if it was the special responsibility of pastors. I have maybe thought this myself. But, in reading it again recently it struck me that this verse is addressed to "brethren", not "elders" nor "deacons" nor "pastors."
This means that all the brethren, and even all the saints, are responsible to do these things. Certainly women should not be teaching nor usurping authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12), but to warn other women may be appropriate and needful at times. Comforting the feebleminded, supporting the weak and being patient toward all men are good things that we all can do.
This misinterpretation is just another example of how Christians in general try to avoid the responsibilities God has given us by assigning them to pastors (or others). Of course, this is highly aggravated by the traditions of men surrounding "the pastor's role." These have led to a lot of false assumptions about what is "the pastor's job" and what us poor peons are "allowed" to do.
The Lord wants all the brethren to practice these things. If we did these things more faithfully more people would be helped and strengthened in the Lord. There would be more accountability to each other as well.
When you stop to think about it, it is not even possible for a few men to do all of this for all of the saints that are on the earth today. How can a pastor know and do all of this that needs to be done even in a smaller church fellowship? It only makes sense that the Lord would extend this responsibility to all the brethren! We are supposed to be brethren after all. Don't siblings in a healthy family do these things for each other? Certainly! As Christians these things should be done in the spirit of meekness, of course, but still they should be done.
Also, notice that this verse does not limit this to "them that are in your local church". The admonition is that we are to do these things, and to be patient with all men. Christians have become so blinded by the teachings on the "local church" that many don't feel the sense of responsibility to other saints in the body of Christ (universal) that they should have. This is laziness, and also gross neglect at times.
These are things to think on and to seek to obey. It may be that God would use you to help someone in one of these areas. 1Thessalonians 5:11, says, Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.