Before worship began today, Clint Stephens, an elder at Bear Valley church of Christ, made a special request. He explained that our five elders have been reaching out to several individuals for many months, individuals who have turned away from God. He asked that we all join hands with the elders in reaching out to these dear, wayward members.
Mark Hanstein, another elder at Bear Valley, preached from John 4 this morning. His lesson was powerful and heartfelt as he challenged us to be, in every sense of the word, the church OF CHRIST. He said there are some things we learn about Christ from His interaction with the woman at the well. First, Jesus cared about souls enough to seize every opportunity to teach them, even when it called for being unconventional. Second, Jesus stood for truth always, which is why He exposed the woman’s previous marriages and current relationship. With these thoughts in mind, Brother Hanstein asked us several questions. When we ask the cashier, waiter, or neighbor, “How are you?,” do we really mean it? If we know they’re not Christians, we know how they’re doing, and we know what they need. Do we seize that opportunity to share the gospel? As the church OF CHRIST, will we always stand for truth no matter what? Will we teach the truth about marriage, divorce and remarriage, or will we turn a blind eye? Will we teach the truth about homosexuality, no matter the political climate? Mark Hanstein challenged us to think and act like Christ.
In one morning, these two elders gave us a glimpse into their hearts. I thank God for them. They are good leaders, true shepherds of the flock. Why? Because they are compassionate, demonstrated by their tireless efforts to reach those who have strayed. They are evangelistic, evidenced by their constant reminders for all of us to “Think Souls,” along with their personal efforts toward that end. And they are convicted. They stand for truth. They’re not afraid to uphold the Word of God. And how reassuring to know that they will continue to do so, come what may!
Kristy Woodall shared these good words recently:
“Perhaps the only ones who can truly understand the service of an elder is his family. They see the countless meetings, the hunched shoulders as the burden seems unbearable, the hours of prayer and the tears. Let’s hold up their hands, honor, respect and pray for them. All they want to do is to help us get to heaven. Thank God for your elders and show them a little love too!”
That’s great advice, and I want to do a better job of praying for and appreciating our humble, hard-working elders.
Prayer for Today: Thank you, God, for Clint Stephens, Mark Hanstein, Dave Chamberlin, Ernie Barrett, Maynard Woolley, and all elders who truly love souls and stand for Your truth.