The Church That Cares For Your Soul

Soul Watchers – The Great Responsibility Of Pastors

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

God’s ministers must have their hearts fired—not with passion, but with love; and as they are Christ’s ambassadors, must come to sinners with an olive-branch of peace. The thunderbolt may crush, but the sun melts. It is better to love as a pastor than speak as an angel.

Thomas Watson – 1649

A Pastor has a lot of responsibility far beyond just taking care of the business of the church.  His greatest responsibilities lie in the care of the souls over which God has placed him.  He is a “soul watcher.”  He watches out for the souls of boys, girls, men and women in his church, those in his community, and anyone else he affects with his ministry.  He needs to be constantly vigilant to see each and every person is doing his best for God.  You better pray for your pastor more!  Also, I hope you willing take his advice when he councils you.

It is kind of like a sailor in the Navy who is “standing watch” all through the night.  That sailor must remain awake at all costs and stay alert for any enemy vessels or other dangers on the water.  He must make sure that no traitor or saboteur overtakes the captain.  The sailor needs to look out for the safety of the crew.  And above all, he cannot fall asleep or he may face the death penalty.  Standing watch is serious business for a sailor and it is serious business for a Pastor.

It says in Hebrews that a pastor must give account for the souls God has placed under him.  That means at some point in heaven, either at the Judgment Seat of Christ or around that time, your pastor is either going to have to say you were a blessing or a grief to the church.  I am also guessing that is going to affect your rewards at the Judgment Seat too!  You either helped the church or you were the church critic.  You were either the one who was always there, doing whatever your pastor asked without murmuring, a good attitude and got it done quickly, or you were the last person he would ask for help.  I am hoping when the time comes, your pastor can answer to the Lord with joy about your service and he does not need to bow his head in shame.

Your pastor loves you.  He is looking out for your eternal well being.  Why would you not want to submit to him?  Why would you give him grief?  Why would you ask him for advice and then not take heed?   He is the one person on this earth that is commanded to watch out for your eternal soul.  I realize you are not going to agree with your pastor about everything, but true submission is willingly doing something even when you disagree.  I believe that is when the Lord will truly honor the saint of God.  Your pastor is not perfect.  However, God honors and rewards obedience to the man of God.  You will find out over time this is true.  You just need to trust the Word of God.

So, how is it going to be for you at the Judgement Seat?  Is your pastor going to have joy or grief?  Let’s hope it is joy.

Photo by The Library of Congress


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