1Th 5:12-13 “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”
Modern technology is a marvelous thing when used properly. When we are not able to get to church it is a great blessing to be able to see and hear the service being streamed live. There can be a great blessing in being able to watch a recorded video of your pastor on YouTube if you want to consider certain points of the sermon more deeply. There is also a danger in these technological advancements.
Paul, inspired by God, said that it is important for the brethren to know their pastor. This word “know” means to see or to discern (see Strong’s). If you have never physically met your pastor, then you don’t know him. When the minister is just a face on a screen that you see once or twice a week, then he is not laboring among you. Paul is pointing out that in order for a church to be healthy, the pastor needs to live and work among the congregation. He needs to be known on a level deeper than just recognizing his face when you see it.
This also speaks to our attitude towards those that do try to labor among us. Are you excited to see God’s ministering servant come to your door? Do you seek him out when you have questions about scripture or just feel the need to have someone pray with you? To the pastors, do we make ourselves available to our brothers and sisters as much as we can? Are we willing for those we serve to know us?
Paul had a great desire (see the definition for “beseech) for the brethren to know those who labored among them. It was, and is, an important aspect in the efficacy of our labor among the Lord’s people that they know us. It is important that we truly labor among them, for it is in our labor that they see (know) the Lord has sent us and that our concern is for them. Admonishment is much easier to absorb when we feel like the one doing the admonishing truly love us and has our best interest before the Lord in their heart.
I will admit that it is difficult for me to want others to hold me in high esteem. As servants, we do not feel worthy of being held in esteem, but at the same time the esteem of those we love and serve is an encouragement to us. Again, it is important to know those that labor among you, and it is important for those that labor to remember Paul’s qualifier in this.
The esteem of the church for those who labor among them is to be grounded in love and to be the result of the our labor. This should not boil down to just how well we preach on Sunday. Our walk should show the leadership of God in our lives. Our manner of speaking to others should reflect His love and grace. The brethren should know us and our labor in a way that reflects how we live every day.
When we labor among the brethren, we are a part of their lives and they are welcomed into ours. Our labor is done in love and esteemed in love. We are encouraged one of another. Following these principles, we find ourselves at peace among ourselves. It is good for us to be involved together in serving the Lord.
May the Lord teach us how good and pleasant it is when we dwell together in unity (Psa 133:1)!