They that have the rule over you
Hebrew 13:24 -
Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
The Greek word translated here as 'salute', is also translated as 'greet' and means to draw near. The word means to be kind, to impress, to show love, to go out of one's way for the person.
This letter of Paul (some think it is by Barnabas) is written to the Hebrew Christian, people of Jewish faith who became Christians but were contemplating to turn back to Judaism. In his letter Paul at the end asks them to greet the people that are set over them. Christians think these are the Church leaders and Elders of the Church. Yesterday I heard church Pastor stating those who evangelize without taking guidance from him or his church elders are 'not authorized' by him. These words gave me the shivers. Being coming from a Catholic background it frightened to hear the same words even in a Believer Church. I thought it was the mission of every Christian to evangelize and witness Christ to every people put into their lives.
I was going through some financial states which are eye openers. Frontier Harvest Ministries start in their world mission statistics as tens of thousands of dollars spend to baptize one Believer. This happens because most Christians are putting their tithes and donations into the wrongs places. They mostly give financial support to main stream Churches and ministries which do the fruitful evangelizing. The 80% finance goes to people who do the 30% of the work.
Please have wisdom do not go blindly by what people claim or the stats they put. Verify everything and discern people and their claims.
Paul tells us to greet people set over us and then says also all the saints. The saints refer to those who are spiritually mature. If we go by people's understanding, unless the Church leaders are not spiritually mature then they would not fall in the 'saints' category and would fall in 'those set above us'. Understand Paul asks us to greet those who rule over (set over) us irrespective they are Believers or non-Believers. He does not say to obey but to go out of our way attract them to us.
As Christians we only obey God and give respect to people whom God has put in our lives or those through whom God speaks to us. Obey and respect means two different things. Respect is a subset of obey.
When people speak on behalf of God and stand in the shadow of God we obey them, but when they operate in their flesh they move out of the shadow of God and then we should not obey them. That does not mean we outright confront them. As Christians we who are called to love even our enemy should approach such people who are misled brothers with love and patience. But there are times we need to be hard like how Paul was to Peter or Barnabas those who were instrument over his spiritual growth in his early spiritual life later we see he was spiritually more mature than them and they respected him over themselves.
People have a wrong understand about spiritual growth and mentors. A student in Kindergarten would obey his or her teacher but when he or she has grown up and done a double Phd is she to listen to her teacher of KG who has just done graduation?
In spiritual walk a mentor can become a student and a student a mentor of his or her mentor. It all matters on one's spiritual growth. Those who are passionate for God, have better relationship with the Lord and mature in time (not worldly time but their work in the Lord - here size does not matter more but consistence does) grow faster. For a vineyard worker where the result depends on the Lord cannot take credit for the great harvest but can get credit only for constantly going to the field and working whole heartedly in the field.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we pray your Church becomes more fruitful, they receive more wisdom and discernment. That they discern the words of man and learn to trust You more than man. There are people who are put as leaders but are not rooted in You or your Word they are spiritual infants and just due to their age, skills, spiritual gifts and worldly positions are given high places in your Church. Lord, we pray for a revamp a total restructuring in your Church...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Hebrews 13:17 – Obey [peitho - means persuade] them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves [do not resist]: for they watch for your souls [life], as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Matthew 8:27 - But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey [Hupakouo] him!
Greek Hupakouo = Obey
Greek Peitho = Persuade
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