“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
(Acts 20:28-32 ESV)
It is encouraging to me to read about the provision that God instituted to provide for the protection of the church. Churches may or may not utilize that provision, but nonetheless, that provision has been around for a very long time. In fact, if we were to look all the way back to Exodus 18, when Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law came to where they were, and met with Moses there, and observed Moses sitting before the people from morning till evening judging the people’s concerns. When Jethro saw that Moses was doing this alone, he said, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people will certainly wear yourselves out, for this thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.”
Jethro then suggested that Moses appoint “able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy, and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds of fifties and of tens…” Thus the institution of elders began, and continued through the history of the people of God up to, and through the New Testament, where we find them in numerous passages throughout the New Testament.
Their role was to help lead the people, to protect them from error, to help govern those entrusted to them. Even in Jesus’ day, the elders were tasked with the same concerns. In Matt. 26, we find them with the chief priests gathering in the High Priest’s palace to plot together to arrest Jesus, as they saw him as a threat to their way of life, of what they understood to be the right worship of God.
In 1 Peter, we find the apostle writing to the elders there, among the dispersed believers at that time, in chapter 5 to, “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…” (1 Peter 5:2-3)
It’s a wise worker who uses the right tool for the job at hand, because using a different tool may work in some cases, but is not the most effective or efficient way to accomplish the task. Sometimes, we may need to add a tool to our toolbox that was missing. Our constitution committee is considering this, and is looking into what that might mean for Mt. Pleasant. Please pray that God will give them the wisdom, discernment and courage to follow Him in wherever He would lead.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen