The five PCF Elders got away on May 11 for our annual day of prayer and planning. We spent a lot of time listening to God, dreaming about the future of our church, setting goals for the coming year, and praying for all 160 of our PCF members. It was a fun, exciting day. We ate well (thanks, Emma, for the chocolate chip cookies!) and we laughed – laughed really hard – a lot. Working together side by side in Christian service with people you love is not a burden; it is a joy.
The main thing I want to say about these four men is that I love and respect them tremendously. I am in awe of their wisdom and tender hearts and willingness to sacrifice and serve. Three of these guys work outside our church, and they took the day off to serve our church through our praying and planning. These men get paid nothing to serve us – but they do it cheerfully, honorably, and sacrificially, year after year. They do a lot that most people will never see, and they pay a price lots don’t know about. Why do they do this? Because they love Jesus, and they love us.
The Apostle Paul asked the Thessalonian Christians to ‘respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work’ (1 Thessalonians 5.12-13). I do esteem these men highly in love. I respect and honor them. They hear my confessions, hold me accountable, encourage me, pray for me, and help to guard my soul. And they lead and pray for and shepherd all the rest of the folks at PCF, too, particularly the 159 other folks in our church who have told them (by becoming members) that they’re eager to be shepherded by them, too. What a gift. What a tremendous gift from the risen Christ to us.
How can we at PCF respect our Elders and ‘esteem them very highly in love because of their work’? I’m willing to bet that if you pray and ask Jesus for some answers to that question, he will be glad to show you.