Giving Heed

Donald R. Cooper

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1).

We wish to emphasize the word "we" as we stress the individual responsibility to pay attention to and obey that which is written on the pages of inspiration. Just to whom might the "we" refer? May I offer a few groups who ought to give heed and then suggest that you add to the list since my space is limited.

We Preachers need to take heed. The apostle Paul used that exact word as he wrote to the young evangelist Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Timothy 4:16). Those who preach have an awesome duty to be certain of what they preach and when to preach it (2 Timothy 4:2). The apostle Peter also stressed the absolute necessity of speaking "as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). One who preaches must preach only what God reveals in His word. Preachers ought to believe what they preach and practice what they believe. Though we would like to deny it, we must admit that much of the division in the religious world and in the church of our Lord stems from preachers who fail to give heed to what God's word teaches. It is worthy to note that our text emphasizes give "earnest" heed to what we learn, not just a passing glance as if it matters not.

We Elders are commanded to take heed to themselves, and to those under their care (Acts 20:28). A man might very well have the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5 but still fall short by not being as watchful as one must be when given the responsibility of overseeing God's people. As one who has served the church in that capacity, I know how difficult and burdensome the task can be. However, if one is not willing to take "heed" to himself and to the flock he shepherds, he ought not accept the role in the first place. One must understand that this is included in desiring the good work (1 Timothy 3:1).

We Deacons must take heed. I fear that many who occupy this position fail to understand how important their work is. Too many of us fail to give proper respect to those who so serve. The qualifications are very specific (1 Timothy 3:8-13). In many instances, only a heart beat exists between one being a deacon and becoming an elder. Both elders and deacons must both prove themselves before assuming the work. A congregation does no one a favor by simply appointing "the best that we have." If one has not heeded what God's word teaches, one is not properly prepared to lead the flock or to serve the elders and the congregation. When servants were needed in the early church to care for a problem that arose, the apostles gave precise qualifications to look for in selecting men to care for that problem (Acts 6:1-7).

As I suggested in the first paragraph, this taking "heed" applies to one and all who would desire to please God. I hope that you will continue to add to that which I have merely touched. Include husbands, wives, parents, and children. Every Christian is included in the text. Sinners must also give heed. We must all study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15). The health of the church, the family, and our nation depends on our love for the truth found in God's word. 211 Forest St., PO Box 273, LaGrange, OH 44050.


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