Mike’s Musings ….

A Shepherd’s Place

   For at least the past eight years, BRIAN PERRY has been speaking for us each “fifth Sunday” at Orleans. He consistently brings us a message of great encouragement with his morning lessons and each evening has been a lesson in song, as he chooses to lead us in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs that complement the thoughts of his lesson. These have been tremendous times of refreshing for us, and we appreciate his efforts!

   In February of this year, Brian was appointed as one of the elders of the Eastview church of Christ, Salem, IN. When I contacted him to assure his coming today, Brian informed me this would be his last time for the foreseeable future, “Because I’m now an elder and I just don’t think I should be away from the flock.” I heartily concur! Acts 20:28 speaks to this important necessity. Indeed, a shepherd’s place is with his flock!

   Elders are referred to in the New Testament as bishops (Philippians 1:1), overseers (Acts 20:28), pastors (Ephesians 4:11), and shepherds (1 Peter 5: 1-4). Their qualifications for this office are found in 1 Timothy 3: 1- 6 and Titus 1:5 – 9. It is a high standard indeed, but one that is “doable” for the diligent man of God who desires the work of this office (1 Timothy 3:1). It is not an office of prestige, but one of faithful watch-care of God’s children. These men must rule well within the house of God (i.e., the church – 1 Timothy 3:14 – 16) which means enforcing God’s commandments without hypocrisy or favoritism. It isn’t easy, but one meriting the respect of the brethren (Hebrews 13:7: 17).

   Thus, we admire men like Brian, whose life is such as to prove his worthiness of such an office, and proof as well of his desire for this work (1 Timothy 3:1). It speaks well of his family, also, for they influence the fulfillment of the qualifications: his wife must be an obedient wife, and his children much be believing children who are not accused of being riotous or unruly. These men are examples to the flock, as well as their overseers. Therefore, among their duties is to convince gainsayers, and encourage the spiritual growth and maturity of their flock by which someday, those now too young and too novice for the work, might be found worthy and fit to stand accepting of such a duty!

   I muse on this work of elders and admire those men who have proven their eligibility and desire to serve in this honored position. And yes, I heartily agree with Brian that a shepherd needs to be with his flock! Though we will sincerely miss his times with us, we wish him and his family well in this responsible endeavor for the cause of our Lord Jesus!