Monday, October 12, 2009

Obey and pray… (Hebrews 13:17-21) 121009

I love this passage. It really speaks to my heart. It really encapsulates my desire for the church; that is for the church to obey its leaders and submit to their authority (v17). As a pastor, also as a leader of the church, I constantly struggle with members challenging my authority. I am not an authoritarian person by nature, on contrary, I am one who do not like to confront or in conflict. But I am a firm believer that I have authority over my members, not because I am smarter or better or even more spiritual; but because of the authority of the Scripture.

As a pastor and a preacher, I have to constantly learn to lead with the authority of the Word of God. There are times I will be tempted to rely on my exegesis, commentaries, or my cleverness to prepare a sermon, but I realize that my preaching will be only like hot air balloon; look high and mighty, but without any weight. Unless I firstly submit to the authority of the Holy Scripture, no one else will submit to the sermon I preach in the name of God.

The author of Hebrews reminds his readers in verse 17 to obey their leaders, so that their leaders will continue to serve them with joy, without burden. I think this is an excellent win-win situation in a church. Can you imagine your pastor always have to come before God to pray for his members who are not submitting and creating problems, instead of praying for their welfare and spiritual growth?

And then the author of Hebrews also asks his readers to pray for him and his team of leaders (v18), especially for his restoration (v19). There isn’t much information about why does he need to be restored, but likelihood that the author belongs to the church whereby his readers belong to, and he might be imprisoned for his faith. Anyway, the author, also as a leader, longs to be with his congregation; just like me as a pastor, I always like to be with my members.

Then this passage ends with referring Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep. As I read to this point, I am reminded of my calling as a shepherd. I know that I have a great Shepherd over me. I know that I need to shepherd my sheep as the great Shepherd shepherds me. This is what pleasing to Him (v21).

This is it. The reason I obey, I pray, and I shepherd is to be pleasing to God, the great Shepherd. But start by obey and pray.


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