Elders must honor the Lord as their foundation commitment. Elders who aren’t committed to this have lost their center, if they ever had that center.
Maybe they’re ignorant of this primary responsibility. Maybe they think their big responsibility is to get more butts into seats or guard their preferred worship music or protect the pastor or make sure people are contented or make sure the leaky roof gets fixed or a lot of other important stuff. Nope.
An elder committed to honoring the Lord will retain his ballast—his center of stability—when pressure comes to slip His honor to the background. An elder can easily lose his ballast when he’s afraid, angry, ignorant, lazy, discouraged or rebellious. Sometimes it builds in small doses over time, remaining undetected until it shows in big compromises and bad choices that lead to hard consequences for the elder and for the church.
How about a test? Below are a dozen questions for a thoughtful self-evaluation:
1. What dominates the thoughts of your heart? (1 Samuel 2:30b; Matthew 22:37-38)
2. Does your comfort take first place, ahead of perseverance and discipline? (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:58)
3. When you hear a solution to a problem, on which question does your mind quickly focus: Will it work? or Is it true? (John 17:16-19)
4. Why are you an elder? Which of the below answers ring true?
a. I enjoy telling people what to do
b. I like having the title
c. My wife wants to be married to an elder
d. I want to care for His church (Acts 20:28)
5. Do you carry similar levels of authority and responsibility? (1 Peter 5:2-3)
6. Do you work hard to be a godly elder? (1 Timothy 4:8-10)
7. What is the Lord’s opinion of your work as an elder? (Hebrews 13:17)
8. Are you strong enough to stand alone for a conviction that’s based on the Scriptures? (Galatians 2:11-14)
9. Do you let fear keep you from speaking truth to a powerful person? (Ecclesiastes 10:4; Isaiah 2:17 and 2:22)
10. Would you rather be a popular leader or an unpopular prophet? (Matthew 5:11-12; John 12:42-43; Galatians 1:10)
11. Do you do what you say you’ll do, even if it costs you or causes you pain? (Psalm 15:4b)
12. Do you practice seeing life through the grid of the Scriptures? (Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:14-16)