To Our Elders
I stole the basic format of what follows from someone else…I don’t know who it was who originally wrote it. I am adding to it and arranging it for my purposes in this blog. But I did want you to know that the following is not entirely original with me, although I heartily agree with the contents.
We had a staff appreciation night a week or two ago courtesy of one of the life groups. It was a good evening with good food and good fellowship. I appreciate the fact that someone thought of us in such a way.
That evening also got me to thinking about the Elders (shepherds, bishops, pastors) that serve our congregation and numerous other churches around the world. Although these comments are directed specifically at the RiverWalk Elders, they would apply to anyone that the Holy Spirit has made an Overseer (Acts 20:28) and has been recognized as such by a local congregation.
To those willing to serve as Elders, thank you. The future of the Church, by God’s design, has been placed in your hands. It is your leadership, your direction, your mentoring, your instruction that will steer the church into the days and years ahead. The times are unsettled; the future unknown. In these difficult times, we ask that God give you wisdom, discernment, and strength. We ask that He protect you and your families as you lead us closer to Jesus.
Thank you for your many hospital visits, your hours of prayer, your phone calls, emails, and texts. Thank you for your home visits, lunch appointments with one or more of the flock, and your time spent traveling to and from appointments and encounters with others. Thank you for the hours you read and study the Word of God, devotional books, commentaries, and other research materials as you prepare for lessons, counseling sessions, and classes. Thank you for your willingness to learn, and your devotion to knowing and doing God’s will. Thank you for your generosity, discretion, example, and love.
Thank you for going to meetings after you have already had a long day at work, for going out of your way to make one more hospital visit during the lunch hour, for answering the telephone at 2:30am (and getting up and going to comfort a grieving family who just lost a loved one), for going through the potluck line last, and for agreeing to teach yet another teen class at the last minute. Thank you for dealing with the issues of job loss, family break-up, teen suicide, bankruptcy, death, depression, abuse, and health issues in the lives of your flock. We pray that you are given divine strength and endurance to patiently and with love deal with these things.
We need you now more than ever. May God forgive us for not trusting His plan more and submitting ourselves to the spiritual leadership of those set aside for this purpose. We stand ready to follow you as you follow God. God has planted in your heart a vision for the future and we trust it is good for God is good. Don’t be afraid to cast a vision that requires sacrifice, risk and courage – anything less wouldn’t require our faith to grow. We are with you.