One of the blemishes Paul wanted to keep from spoiling the church was failure in leaders. Though most of his second visits to churches that he, Barnabas and Silas planted were short visits, Paul insisted on establishing and strengthening strong, qualified leaders. He established the first line of defense for the Ephesian elders as he left them with these pointed and strong words, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Our day has seen too many pastors and leaders who have disqualified themselves from serving as leaders because they did not “pay careful attention to yourselves”. I feel the point of this truth in my own heart. This was a concern in Paul’s own heart. In the context of an athlete, Paul says of himself, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). A position or title does not make a person qualified. The ONE THING needed by all who shepherd the flock is an intimate walk with the Lord. Like many who have gone before us, we must keep ourselves free from sin that entangles (Hebrews 12:1-2). Leadership requires “being an example to the flock…sober-minded, watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:3, 8).
One unguarded moment can both ruin our ministry and have a devastating effect on the flock. THEREFORE, KEEP THE ONE THING, THE ONE THING; PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO YOURSELF!
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