Ephesians 4:11–12 (NKJV)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
The final thing that I would like to share with you publicly about my trip to presbytery in Minneapolis is the privilege that I had to serve on the examination committee for Kenton Spratt. Kenton is the pastor of our sister congregation in Colville, Washington. It was an incredible privilege to get to hear him preach, to read some of his writing, and then to examine him at presbytery.
But not only was it an incredible privilege to examine Kenton, it was also an incredible privilege to work in concert with other elders in the CREC during this process. The examination committee is typically composed of five CREC elders – some pastors, some teaching elders, some ruling elders. Our task is to examine the candidate’s fitness to serve as a minister of the Gospel.
The privilege of joining in this work reminded me that one of our callings as the people of God – both officers and congregants – is to thank God for the gift he has given us in apostles, prophets, evangelists, and even pastors and teachers. God in His grace and mercy has gifted us with men to teach and articulate the Word of God – and it was my privilege to recognize Kenton as one of those men.
So how are you doing? First, have you been thanking God for the leaders, past and present, in the church? Thanking God that He has given us those equipped to read and understand and teach His Word? And not only thanking God for them, but continuing to pray for those living that they would fulfill their tasks with joy and integrity?
Second, have you reckoned with your calling to support ministers of the Gospel with your tithes and offerings? Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things [in the OT] eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Cor 9:13-14). And so we are called upon as the people of God to express our gratitude for those who labor in Word and Sacraments by providing for their physical needs by giving to the work of the church.
Third, have you shown your appreciation for these men by listening to what they are telling you? The way we show respect and honor is not by nodding our heads and saying how much we appreciate them, but by doing what they urge us to do when it is consistent with the Word of God. God has given them that we all might be equipped for ministry, Paul says – and so our calling is to make use of their teaching by ministering, by implementing the principles they give.
Reminded of the many ways in which we take leaders for granted, let us kneel and confess our sin to God.