The magnificent book of Hebrews is drawing to a close. But before the writer puts down his pen, he offers three instructions for Christians and their leaders. In studying these instructions, I noticed that you can make application for three time stages. Please consider your relationship to each of these leaders you have had in your Christian walk.
- Past Leaders – “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (v. 7). The church likely had past leaders who had become martyrs for the faith. They had good leaders who had departed for eternity. He was reminding them not to forget their example. Their influence still carries own despite their death. They should consider their teaching of the Word of God and be encouraged by the outcome of their faith. They won the race and made a difference in this world through their faith. We must not forget our leaders! We must imitate! Each of us should pause and reflect upon past leaders we have had that have blessed our lives.
- Present Leaders – “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” (v. 17). Christians are instructed to obey and submit to their leaders. We should realize the blessing in having shepherds who watch out for our souls. Our attitude toward present leaders should be to constantly compare them to past leaders, nor to criticize their every decision, but to obey and submit to them.
- Future Leaders – “Greet all your leaders and all the saints” (v. 24). While maybe only a simple salutation, this instruction to greet leaders can be applied toward future leaders. The concept of greeting involves being welcoming, warm, and friendly to new leaders. A Christian should realize that they will have leadership turnover through their lifetime. They shouldn’t be prejudice to new leaders because they are young, new, or different. We should greet them in the Lord. We should honor them for their role and position they assume. When a church gets a new preacher, a new elder, or new daacon the members should welcome them and greet them positively. The new leader will need acceptance and encouragement as he assumes the awesome task.
Let me encourage you to consider your leaders–Past, Present, and Future. Remember the past ones, obey the present ones, and greet the future ones with love.