12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another (1 Thessalonians 5).
So, how do pastors and congregants in any church “live in peace with one another?” Let us begin with the pastors. First, they must “diligently labor” in their task. This is no casual commitment. It means “to work to the point of exhaustion.” Second, they must “guard and protect” the sheep as they “have charge” over them, making sure they do not fall prey to wolves in sheep’s clothing. Finally, they must “give…instruction”—literally, they must “rebuke”—yes rebuke the sheep.
No doubt most congregants tend to accept the first two tasks much better than the last one! Thus, when necessary, pastors must be bold and courageous to speak a prophetic “Thou art the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7) to his people, and run from the temptation to just “tickle the ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) of his sheep with only sweet sounding sermons.
Lord, help pastors This Day to do their job and fulfill these tasks in their churches. Amen.