Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
This is the noble, yet daunting task of any spiritual laborer or leader. Leaders are to be recognized and regarded highly because of their work which is to lead in the Lord and admonish. This includes both positive and so-called negative ‘encouragement’. The leader is charged with a difficult task, especially in today’s culture. Encourage the positive – yes! Admonish the negative – no! Never! It’s none of their business! This, in my humble opinion, often characterizes the church of today. We want nothing of admonishing leadership that would hone us into holiness. We want gushy encouragement that make excuses for our failures and points to our basic goodness. What? Is this how Jesus pastored? I think not. Check out Matthew 15 where He graphically describes what is within a man and what comes out of him; i.e. evil.
The leader who truly leads in every age must be a person of faith, courage and true biblical love. They must exhibit this love of God that has been poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit that accepts the sinner, yet, never lets him off with his sin. This leader is kind, relentlessly loving and painfully honest. Just as Jesus rescued the woman caught in adultery, forgiving her on the spot and then calling her to truly turn away from her sin, so must the leader of God’s church do. This leader truly deserves recognition and respect as a pastor in Father God’s service. It is no easy task.