Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Good Work

In my role as an elder in the church, there are some things I get to do and some things I have to do. Both happened recently.

A few weeks ago, my nephew was baptized and my sister asked if I would serve as the "assisting elder." The job isn't extensive. Basically, I lift the lid that covers the bowl of water; once the baptism is over, I lead a prayer for the child, family, and church. Baptism itself is a weighty thing, as the family vows to raise the child to love and serve God in order that he would come to faith in Christ. The church then vows to come alongside the family and help them in this. I'm honored my sister and brother-in-law asked me to be a part of this with their family.

Also a few weeks ago, I had to have a hard conversation with someone. I won't share details and it was a one-on-one conversation, but I had to give a rebuke and try to help someone see some damaging faults in themselves. I am sorry to confess I had little hope of it doing the intended good, and that sadly seems true as I have not seen that person since. I've played that one over in my mind a few times, wondering if I could have said or done something differently for a better outcome. Perhaps I could have, but all I can do now is pray and trust the Holy Spirit to work.

Whether my tasks as an elder are "get to do" things or "have to do" things, they are part of the good work that God has called elders to. Elders are not to be the "executive board" of a church, nor are they to chase titles, book deals, bylines, or the conference circuit. Elders are shepherds. We must participate in life with our fellow sheep in our local church. We rejoice with the flock at births, baptisms, new jobs, and beautiful repentance. We sorrow with the flock over death, broken relationships, loss of jobs, and unrepentant hearts. We plod away at leading worship each week (whether we feel like it or not) because we know that is a God ordained way the flock is fed.

So, please pray for the elders/shepherds of your church, that we would live out I Peter 5:1-3. We need the strength of the Holy Spirit for the "get to do" things and even more for the "have to do" things.
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. - I Peter 5:1-3

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