Recognize Leadership

Recognize Leadership

“And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry…” (Eph. 4:11,12 NKJ).

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the flock of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

The early churches were very opposed to a clergy distinction between believers. Had not their Lord told them to avoid titles and that they were all brethren?(Matt. 23) But they came to realize that God had gifted them differently and that they needed to recognize these differences. All should work together for the growth and blessing of God’s people. And some were gifted to be leaders.

Barnabas was older than Saul and had been a believer longer. It was he who became convinced that Saul was genuinely converted and brought him to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). Later it was he who brought Saul to Antioch to help with the work there. When Barnabas and Saul went on their first missionary journey, it was “Barnabas and Saul.” But in time as Paul’s leadership became very evident, It was “Paul and his party” (Acts 13:13). From that time Paul was definitely the leader of the group. Barnabas was a very gracious, humble man and accepted his role gladly. Even though on their second journey they differed about Mark, Paul always spoke warmly about Barnabas.

In the assembly of God’s people we need grace to recognize God’s leadership of elders as raised up by God. They must give account one day of their shepherd care of God’s people. It is His flock purchased with His blood.

I knew a man in an assembly who had a prosperous business. He employed a number of men and one was an elder from the assembly. In the business he was the boss. But in the assembly his employee was his elder and he recognized this. Both men accepted their roles cheerfully and the assembly was blessed. This takes grace.

Do not resent God-given leadership but be thankful and supportive. I like the humility of Peter in his old age, a great leader among the apostles. “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet. 5:1-3). It is the humble spirit of a great leader who views leadership as an opportunity to serve the people of God. May God give us more leaders like him.

And may we as the Lord’s people be grateful for them and accept their leadership.

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Donald Norbie

Donald Norbie was born in 1923 in Minnesota. He was saved in 1938. He continued his college education after World War II and serving in the U. S. Navy. After completing his graduate work, Donald and his wife, Marie, were commended to the Lord’s work by their assembly in Wheaton, Illinois in 1949. He taught at Emmaus Bible School for three years. After this, he and his family moved to Oklahoma to evangelize and teach the Bible. In 1970, they moved to Colorado and have lived there ever since. Mr. Norbie continues to be active in evangelism, teaching, and writing.