(1 Thess. 5:14,15)
In verses 12 and 13 Paul addresses ways in which members in the church should treat their leaders.
In today’s passage (1 Thess. 5:14, 15), Paul turns his attention to the leaders of the church and how they should treat those under their care.Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15. What are the ways in which Paul admonishes church leaders in regard to how they treat members? Look at the principles there. How can we apply them to ourselves, whatever our role may be in the church? Meanwhile, how should we apply these principles at work, at home, at play, and wherever we find ourselves?See also Matt. 5:43-48.
Paul encouraged the leaders in Thessalonica to “warn those who are unruly” (1 Thess. 5:14, NKJV). The unruly were members who refused to support themselves, who were willfully difficult to deal with, and who had to be confronted.
In contrast, Paul instructs the leaders to “encourage the timid, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14, NIV). The “timid” are people who have little self-confidence or sense of worth. They are anxious and worried about many things. Such people matter to God; so, leadership should encourage them.
The “weak” are those with moral and spiritual limitations. They are gullible, easily discouraged by hardship, and fearful of the unfamiliar. Their hearts might be in the right place, but they lack knowledge and are troubled by the past. They need help to survive.
Paul directs church leaders to be patient with everyone. While the first three counsels in verse 14 are fine-tuned to meet various conditions, patience is always appropriate for pastoral care.
Paul probably continues to have leaders in mind in verse 15. Whenever caregivers are attacked by those who don’t appreciate their admonitions, they may be tempted to retaliate. But when leaders retaliate, it demonstrates that their leadership was not motivated by the spirit of Christ. Crucial to sound church leadership is to keep the good of others in mind.
Verses 12-15 presume that there will be mentors and disciples in the church, and it is important that there be a lot of respect and patience in those relationships. But we should not forget 1 Thessalonians 5:11(“encourage one another and build one another up,” ESV). Pastoral care will often go both ways. There are times when the mentors need to be mentored.