TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Timothy 5:17

Participation trophies have gotten a bad rap lately. You know the trophies you get simply for being on a team or in a tournament. It’s the medal that everyone gets who participates in the spelling bee even if you intentionally misspell cat in the first round. While some may rail against participation trophies for teaching kids that “everyone is a winner,” there is a purpose to them. Sometimes, being part of a group is an honor that is worth noting. You don’t have to be the best or even place in the top three to enjoy the honor of simply being part of something great. Ask anyone who has a Super Bowl ring if he values it, even if his job was to be the water boy on that Super Bowl team. It’s a great honor to have been part of that effort.

In 1 Timothy 5 Paul says that all elders are worthy of honor. That may sound like just a participation trophy, but it’s actually a declaration of the high value and esteem that God places on elders. Simply being asked to serve a congregation as an elder is an honor because it means the congregation recognizes the value of God’s plan for leading a church, and they recognize you as a potential elder. The office of an elder is honorable one.

But some elders trade in their participation trophy for a special medal. Paul says that some elders rise above the norm and are worthy of “double honor.” These men do three things: They “rule well,” preach, and teach. The fact that some elders rule well means others do not. The fact that some elders preach and teach well means others do not. Not every elder has the same talents and abilities.

Many people make a beeline for an elder when there is a problem or a complaint, but they rarely stop to honor the men who work tirelessly to be their shepherds. The truth is that most elders would love an affirming word of honor or appreciation! Why not have a “shepherd appreciation day” soon?

Today I will…pray for each of my elders by name and thank God for the work they do. I will thank them for their service the next time we are together. I will look for a way our congregation can show honor to our elders.