By Jim Bill McInteer
“The elders are the undershepherds to watch over and feed the flock. In accepting the work the elders bring themselves under the most solemn and sacred obligations possible to men to guard and maintain the honor of God, to keep his teaching and his service pure from all innovations of men.
As shepherds and teachers of the flock, they assume the most sacred and solemn obligations to the flock to feed the flock with the pure milk of the word of God, that by this they may grow; to guard against all teachings and practices that rest on human authority as vitiating the service of God and defiling the spiritual nature of the taught, and cutting them off from the blessings of God, which come to men only through the appointments of God unmixed with human inventions and traditions. A sadder perversion of a sacred trust is never seen than when elders and teachers forget the sanctity of their obligations both to God and his church, and, as his trusted servants and chosen teachers, encourage the introduction into his service of practices not authorized of God, so destroying his authority as lawgiver, and, as a consequence, hurtful and poisonous to the spiritual nature of men.” (David Lipscomb, Commentary on 1 Timothy, p. 309, and cited by William Woodson)
Across this land I pray with my brethren in public assembly. One petition I notice repetitiously—and it’s not “choose our changes,” “guide, guard, and direct us,” “if we have been found faithful, save us without the loss of one,” “help us to partake of this loaf/cup in a manner well-pleasing in thy sight,” “give him a ready recollection,” nor is it “bless all those for whom it is our duty to pray.” It is this: “Lord, bless our elders and help them make wise decisions!”
What does that say to you? Are the elders a formulating board? Is their duty almost exclusively as an assembled body?
Somehow it leaves me cold… “Help them make decisions.” “Let them say yes to the right letter.” “Let them decide best about the size of the directory.” Is that their job? I want an elder, not a board. I want a godly, praying, thoughtful, sensitive man. I want one to come to me when I’m weak, sick, strong, successful, bewildered. I want a leader in the church who will share his strength with me.
“Help them make the right decisions.” Really? I want a brother who helps make me right in the holy sight of God. That’s my prayer!
- Jim Bill McInteer; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com