As my kids were discarding their trash at the local mall food court, my oldest son was almost run into by a man who was clearly on a mission. My younger son jokingly remarked, “Maybe he stole something.” Thinking I might be able to use this as a teachable moment, I said, “That’s what the Bible calls judging.” He then asked with a smile: “Why are you always ‘pastoring’ me?” After I finished laughing, I told my sons that I could never take a vacation from shepherding them.
The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders that they too could never take a vacation from shepherding God’s people (Acts 20). He was convinced that false teachers would try to ravage the church (v.29), and the elders needed to protect the group from them. Caring for God’s people includes feeding them spiritually, leading them gently, and warning them firmly. Leaders in the church are to be motivated by the incalculable price Christ paid on the cross (v.28).
Church leaders have a big responsibility to watch over our souls, for one day they will give an account to the Lord for their work among us. Let’s bring them joy now by responding to their faithful, godly leadership with obedience and submission (Heb. 13:17).