It seems some among us find some sort of sadistic joy in pointing out any error or perceived error of our brethren, any short-coming of our brotherhood they can hone in on and then abuse to promote what seems an agenda. As one outsider said: “I have never seen a group who has as much self-hatred as members of the church of Christ exhibit.” I would not, nor have I ever heard any sane brother claim we have everything perfected. Yet it is our noble, right, and righteous goal to strive to restore New Testament Christianity.
I want to address something that I think we got right in teaching but it seems often have fallen short of in practice. This might be, for some, the truth that we need to practice what we preach.
The Biggest thing you can do is the best thing you can do and that is do your job. Yes, do your job (Romans 12:3-8).
Preachers/ministers - preach/minister. Speak the Word, study it, prepare for it, learn to present, study every aspect you can of it. Don’t hold back God’s truth because you are fearful or might lose a paycheck, don’t be a hireling, Speak truth in love. Don’t short circuit either of those non-negotiables. Spend more time reading God’s Word than scouring social media or the newest book of cool sermons from some cool preacher. Then preach. Minister. Be there in the big events of people’s lives, love them, listen to them, hear their problems, aid them in their troubles, make time for them. Minister (Colossians 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:2). And, might I add, stop trying to be the elder, shepherd, bishop of the church. Do your job.*
Shepherds - shepherd. Care, lead, and guide with gentleness. Take challenging stands with force and grace, it can be done. Consider each sheep, even the difficult ones (maybe, especially the difficult ones). Lead the sheep to good waters, green fields, over difficult terrain, in the midst of storms. Get them to the ultimate safe place. Take stands against wolves, especially the ones in sheep’s clothing. Don’t spend your energies on deacons’ work, serving tables, or arranging chairs on a sinking ship. Don’t push the hard to the bottom of the agenda or excuse your responsibility because a person might be difficult to deal with. Be diligent in your position against evil with strength and force, and just as diligent in assuring the church is a place of love. Love, know, and tend the sheep. Shepherd (1 Peter 5:2). Do your job.
Deacons - diákonos, serve. Prove yourself. Take on a job and see it through. Own your area(s) of responsibilities. Don’t quit at the first sign of difficulty. Don’t retreat from your roll just because it may not be as important as you think you are. Do the difficult and seemingly menial so elders can shepherd and ministry can preach. Serve. Show up. Be diligent, creative, and a submissive leader. Serve (1 Timothy 3:8-10). Do your job.
Yes, we have our challenging but the church is the Lord’s let’s all serve in our rolls as if He were the one watching. Remember, Revelation, HE KNOWS our works…do your job.
*In case you are wondering, I preached this to myself first today.