Leaders. We know what they are. Even as kids we play “follow the leader.” We have leaders in sports. We have leaders in school. At work. In government. We need leadership to keep us focused on whatever task or goal it is we have. Without leaders we are lost. The ‘every-man-for-himself’ system doesn’t work. We need guidance. Encouragement. Rebuke. Help. Support. Leaders are vital in any effort if it is to succeed.
God, in His wisdom, has shown us in the Scriptures what He wants and commands in His church. The Lord wants there to be leadership. Those who will guide His people in the path of righteousness. Shepherds tending to the flock. Without leadership the church struggles. We need what the Bible calls “elders, shepherds, bishops, pastors.” We need leaders to look to as examples. We need guidance and help.
That’s what the Hebrews writer was reminding the Christians he was writing to. He instructed them to follow their leaders’ guidance and examples. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” He later writes in that same chapter in verse 17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
We are to follow the godly and faithful examples of those who are our leaders; our elders. Look at their lives, their faith, their love, their hope. Imitate them. Seek guidance and wisdom from them. Ask them for help. Love them and support them.
We are to be obedient to the elders. Submissive. With good hearts and good attitudes. Elders are keeping watch over our souls. They want to help make sure that we are living godly, faithful lives for God. Listen to their admonitions. Be thankful for their encouragement. Take joy in their concern. Elders should be able to lead without grief and discouragement due to the misconduct of the brethren.
Follow the leaders God puts in His church. Imitate their faith. Be obedient. Work together in faith, hope, and love. Do it God’s way. God’s way works.