Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians ends like a fireworks display, with admonitions of all kinds thrown up against a black sky. The Grand Finale if you will. What would the world be—Christiandom for that matter—if these actions were universally and eagerly applied? The Kingdom of God on earth. But it would be nice to get close, and Paul had high aspirations for the Thessalonians, as one would for a gifted child.
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13
If you’ve been in church long enough, you will have lived through a Pastor War or Worship War or both. Satan tries his best to split the church asunder. A healthy church shows appreciation for its leaders.
Our gut reaction typically is to think why honor someone who gets paid for what he does? The Bible says, however, those who rule well are worthy of double honor. 1 Timothy 5:17
Where you need to be as a default position is honoring, respecting and encouraging those who live in the trenches. Pastoring is sometimes, perhaps most times, thankless. There are many “no win” situations that must be endured. Many who are incorrigible. Much sorrow and death to assuage that we lay people avoid like the plague. Paul knew exactly of which he spoke.
This is all about empathy. Putting one in someone else’s shoes. We want to go the extra mile with our leaders, especially those who put in tireless hours studying the word. The church is offered up so much pablum by so-called pastors these days! It is a blessing to be enriched weekly and sometimes daily by what a Man of God has mined from the word.
Live in peace with one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:13
Paul says to live in peace with one another in the context of remaining under church leadership. Jesus said, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:50 Here the idea is to act as a preservative. In Romans 12:18, Paul says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Christians worth their salt do all they can do to live in peace in the church and in all walks of life.
In some cases, this may not be possible. But always make sure evil for evil is not returned, and all attempts to do good, and this may include to turn a blind eye for the greater good, are exhausted before dusting off your feet. 1 Thessalonians 5:15