The wisdom of God is obvious in everything He does. One of the greatest manifestations is in the role He gives to elders as they shepherd the flock. Consider His wisdom as He gives the grave responsibility to elders to shepherd the flock, and then think about the grave responsibility that the flock has toward those God has appointed as elders. Several years ago a couple placed membership in a congregation in Arkansas. Read the words they wrote and gave to the elders when this happened. Think of how this shows the solemn obligation for every eldership and then how it applies to every member of the church.
“We are asking to commit the welfare of our souls to your care. Although the weakness of the flesh often betrays us, the prime objective of our lives is obtaining salvation for ourselves, our children and our fellowman. We therefore ask with all sincerity that you help us in every way possible to be successful in this endeavor. Besides spiritual food, encouragement, and fellowship, we fully expect that the help you give might well take the form of numerous requests to serve, instruct, correct, and, if necessary, even discipline. With this in mind, we ask that when and if either of us responds in a negative fashion to a request or fails to measure up in a given task, that you not write us off but help us grow, and as soon as possible try us again. We view membership in this congregation as an obligation to be subject to its eldership, to be helpful and encouraging to all its members, and to take an active part in the work. We, therefore, state our intentions to give freely of our time, our talents, and our money in order to fulfill that obligation.”
Look at their words which emphasize the responsibility of elders: “. . . commit the welfare of our souls to your care . . . help us . . . spiritual food . . . encouragement . . . fellowship . . . requests to serve, instruct, correct, and, if necessary, even discipline . . . not write us off but help us grow . . . try us again.” What a fabulous list of words for every elder and every member’s view of the work of elders.
Look at their words which emphasize the responsibility of members: “. . . prime objective of our lives is obtaining salvation for ourselves, our children . . . help us to be successful in this endeavor . . . help us to grow . . . an obligation to be subject . . . to be helpful and encouraging to all . . . to take an active part in the work . . . give freely of our time, our talents, and our money in order to fulfill that obligation.”
His plan is amazing. Every Christian has a role in that plan. May we think soberly about our roles!