Part 2 – Watchers for Your Souls

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:17 NKJV

On the Spiritual Frontline

The forces of Satan are focused on the pastor and family.  Why? Paul informs us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms – Eph. 6:12 NKJV.”  The enemy is after your soul. He knows if he can weaken your pastor, he can get to you. That makes pastors frontline workers in a brutal spiritual battlefield for your benefit.  Your pastor is watching out for your soul. God holds them accountable. They have your best spiritual interests at heart as they prayerfully contend against the elements of this dark world on your behalf.

There is much grief associated with the work of pastoring a church.  This constant spiritual warfare can lead to depression and loneliness.  Experiencing spiritual attacks, responding to members’ emergencies and other crises in the church and in the community takes a tremendous toll on pastors and on their families.  Pastors grow tired and weary.  They are deserving of the love and appreciation of those whom they are called to serve. The last thing they need is members stirring up trouble by failing to be submissive to Bible-centered leadership. That only adds to the pastor’s grief.

The Benefit to the Congregation

It is for each member’s benefit that pastor is doubly honored.  When we bless our pastors, they are able to serve the congregation with joy and not with grief, as Paul said.  That is to our advantage.  A hurting, tired and weary pastor is not at his best. Because the joy of the Lord is our strength, a joy-filled pastor is a strong pastor (Neh. 8:10).  That is reason enough to count them worthy of double honor. Just as soldiers, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, fire fighters and other first responders workers should be recognized for their sacrifices, doubly so, pastors should be honored. 

As the New Testament writers make clear, elders are deserving of special acknowledgement for their spiritual service. This is how The Amplified Bible renders Paul’s exhortation:

Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:17 Amplified Bible Classic Edition

Ways to Show Double Honor

Churches should plan for this Bible-mandated ministry to their pastors. Special financial gifts, solitary retreats, family vacations, and sabbaticals are all fitting rewards for faithful pastors.  

There are things everyone can do. Just saying “thank you” on a regular basis can be very encouraging to your pastor.  Make it a point to express gratitude for them and their families for their sacrifices.  Find creative ways your family can celebrate your pastors and other spiritual caregivers throughout the year… especially in October.