Summary: In too many of our Churches we have to strong of leadership. That is possible. In too many of our Churches we have to weak of following. That is possible, isn’t it? And what Paul lays out for us this morning in the worship services are some responsibili
Marks of A Servant Leader/Follower
There is a term that I find used in the New Testament Scripture, which is used of all Christians. It is the term brother. That in the writings of the apostle Paul, even though he uses terms like saints and servants, the most frequently used term by Paul to describe those who are leaders in the church, and those who are followers in the church is the term brother.
In what is perhaps the first letter that Paul wrote, the letter to the Church of Thessalonica, Paul in that letter and the second letter he writes uses the term "brother" thirteen times, to describe all Christians, to describe Christians who are leaders, to describe Christians who are followers.
I want us to listen this morning to four verses of Scripture. And I guess, in some ways, I want the leaders to listen closely to these four verses. But I want the members of this Church to listen to these four verses as well.
Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15:
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
In too many of our Churches we have to strong of leadership. That is possible. In too many of our Churches we have to weak of following. That is possible, isn’t it?
And what Paul lays out for us this morning in the worship services are some responsibilities of those who serve in Christian leadership, ministers and elders. But he, also, lays out some of the responsibilities that we have toward them as they perform their leadership ministry.
So what I want to surface with you this morning is this. I want to surface with you a sermon that is shaped like a funnel.
Sermons come in all different sizes and shapes, don’t they? Some are long. Some are short. Some are well crafted. Some are constructed more like a Brillo pad, there is no beginning or ending.
This sermon is shaped like a funnel. In which I see Paul laying out three responsibilities of a brother who is a leader. And then I see him surfacing two responsibilities for the people of the church who are what I would like to call brothers who are followers. And then finally, he points out a responsibility for all who are leaders and all who are followers.
1) Responsibilities of a Servant Leader
First, three responsibilities of our brothers who serve as leaders. Verse 12, Paul says this: "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord, and who admonish you."
Three responsibilities leaders must discharge:
a) Work Hard
First is this, Paul says that a person who is a leader is a brother who works hard. Now in the language that Paul was writing, he could have used any number of words. He could have used the word (let me illustrate it this way), he could have said, "Now we ask you brothers, to respect those who work among you …"
You know what it is like when you come home from the the factory, or from the office, and your husband or your wife say to you, "How was work today?" And you say, "I had a good day at work."
But then there are those days that we come home, when we are asked that question by the children or by a spouse, we are tempted to say, "Boy, did I work today. I really worked today!"
My mother was remarried when I was eight. And for the first time in my life my family planted a garden. I remember that first year going out and sitting next to the garden, perhaps a 12’ x 12’ plot, when my step-dad would go out to weed and to hoe. I could not wait for my opportunity to help.
He told me that when I had turned 9, he would buy me my own hoe, and I would go to the garden and work with him. In April, we were all given our chores for the planting. My mother planted the bell peppers. My step-dad planted the tomatoes and the beans. And my sister and I were assigned to the carrots and the corn.
And I remember daily pleading with my step-dad, "Can we go out in the garden and work today?" And for some time the answer would always be the same, "No, the weeds have not come up yet?"