Yes, “kudos” is a real word! It’s a noun meaning praise, honor, or acclaim for an achievement of some sort. To be one of God’s workers should be more than an achievement but a way of life. It’s good to remember that when Paul wrote these words, the “church” was in its infancy. The hierarchy of leadership we see today is quite different from what it was then.
I can only imagine that everyone touched by the Holy Spirit played some sort of role in growing the church. Paul has some truly profound final words as he closes this letter. I don’t want to rush past them. Instead, let’s take a look at these two verses and really dig into the message Paul is trying to convey.
“Honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work.” There will always be leaders and followers. Some of us are born with the leadership “gene” and others of us must learn how to be leaders, depending heavily on the Holy Spirit to guide us. If you have ever served as a church leader, you know the pressure and often heartache associated with it. I love that Paul calls it out, reminding us to “honor” those who have stepped up to lead the way.
We’ve probably all encountered church leaders who use their power for their own gain. Sadly, it’s the human condition we are all saddled with. Sin creeps in. I’m not sure Paul was wanting us to “honor” the power-hungry manipulators, but we certainly are called to love them just the same.
Taking the lead where faith is concerned is a lot of work. Paul doesn’t sugar coat it. In fact, it can be like herding cats at times. Think of a time when you were trying to facilitate a church committee. You were either trying to pull teeth to get the group to make decision, or you have so many ideas and possible directions it seems impossible to keep the group on the same page. Can you relate? It’s hard work! In those times, a little honor and respect would be fantastic!
Paul knows firsthand how it feels to be misunderstood and unappreciated. “Show them great respect and wholehearted love.” What are some ways we can do that? Think about how you could show up at a church meeting where you are not in the lead. How are you going to treat the leader? What are some things you could do so they felt loved and respected?
The pandemic we have been living through for the last year has really caused churches to re-evaluate and change the way they “do church.” Not only did we have to go online, we had to find new ways of doing outreach, collecting tithes, and so forth. Just like businesses and schools, there was a need to pivot. For that, I think church leadership needs even more kudos for what they have endured.
On the upside, when you are a church leader you are never alone. I think of it as being one of the coaches on God’s team. As leaders (coaches) we have a responsibility to lead well, with authority and integrity. It may be hard work, but the benefits of feeling like you are part of a bigger plan can’t be easily described. To say it is rewarding only scratches the surface.
So for today – give a virtual hug to a church leader and pray for them. Ask God how you can be a better leader on his team.
Let’s pray…Lord, I thank you equipping me to be a servant leader. I know I haven’t always felt like I had what it takes. While it has been hard at times, I thank you for your tender mercy and prodding to keep going. I thank you for those who have supported me and respected my leadership. Help me to be respectful and nonjudgmental of others leading the way to bring people to faith in Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.