We ask you, brothers, 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. Be at peace among yourselves. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 ESV
Paul addressing believers in the two letters to Thessalonica using the term “brothers” twenty-seven times shows how he describe the local church as one member of a family because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the relationship we have in the local church. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers proves that they possess the life of God within. It is tragic that Christians fail to see the importance of the local church. The new life they have in Christ will be live out as they relate to the members of the body of Christ. This is how they grow and neglecting it will greatly affect their ability to exercise their spiritual gifts thus, affecting as well their capacity to serve. This is why Paul reminded the believers from the text not to ignore God’s design how the church should function. There must be cooperation between the members and the leaders. This cooperation is based on mutual respect. There is an order that was established by God to which the church should abide. Not to recognize this would lead to disorder and will affect the church’s testimony to the community. Christians are exhorted to know those who labor among them. There is nothing wrong in expressing appreciation to the leaders of the church. Church leaders need the prayers of the brothers and sisters in the Lord. The challenges the local church face are enormous and working with leaders of the church will provide encouragement. Once cooperation is established and promoted in the local church, the potential to grow will be manifested. Leaders will be benefitted from the advice of those mature believers that will not hesitate to provide counsel. When leaders or members of the church are overcome by sin of selfishness, this will harm the cohesion and will affect the harmonious relationship. Whenever there is division in the church, it was caused by self-centeredness among the leaders or among the members. It is only by submitting to God that we learn how to submit one to another enjoying His blessings and experiencing peace that He promised.
Noel De Guzman