"Esteem Them Very Highly"        

I Thessalonians 5:13


     Any church to whom God has given a faithful pastor is blessed, honored, and privileged beyond description! Few in this world have the privilege of sitting under the ministry of a faithful man, who seeks the glory of God and the welfare of their souls, a man who faithfully gives himself to the work of the ministry, prayer, study and preaching, and faithfully preaches the gospel of Christ to them. Those who are so blessed of God ought to demonstrate their gratitude by giving that man their love, loyalty, obedience and honor (I Thess. 5:12-13; I Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17). Cherish that man who is faithful to your soul, pray for him, take care of him and follow him.

     I do not suggest that a man deserves such honor and respect from a congregation simply because he holds the title and office of pastor. Ordination papers do not confer upon men respectability! Paul does not merely say, "Esteem them very highly in love." He says, Esteem them very highly in love for their works sake!" What is their work, which merits the highest esteem of God's elect?

1. THEY ARE SERVANTS! We are "your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Cor. 4:5). That does not mean that pastors are under the thumb of their churches. It means that they serve the interests of men's souls, not their own interests.

2. THEY ARE STUDENTS! They addict themselves to the study of God's Word (I Tim. 4:12-16). Between sermons, you will find faithful men in their study, praying, reading and writing. And the constant subject of their study is the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel of his grace.

3. THEY ARE STEWARDS! "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God" (I Cor. 4:1). God has entrusted into the hands of faithful men the gospel of his grace for the welfare of his church. And those men who have that trust are faithful to it.


Don Fortner