Should an elder leave his responsibilities when assembly problems overwhelm him?

Should an elder leave his responsibilities when assembly problems overwhelm him?

It is easier to make decisions for others than for ourselves. Decisions must, however, conform to spiritual principles. An overseer must answer one basic question: "Did the Lord give me this responsibility for His sheep?" The time to decide the answer to this is not when the pressure of difficulties sways his thinking. No matter who asks him to do so, no matter how often he receives a request to do so, no matter how necessary it appears for someone to assume the responsibility, a man should never take the place of an overseer unless he recognizes that God has given him this responsibility. Any who take the place of overseers and have not arrived at that conclusion should be assured that God holds them responsible to Him for the place they have assumed. They should leave that assumed responsibility immediately if they are not willing for the grace of God to bring them into conformity to the scriptural standard for overseers.

1 Timothy 4:10 provides an assuring principle for those who suffer physically and emotionally in fulfilling their charge in divine things. Paul assures Timothy that God is the preserver ("Savior") "of all men, specially of those that believe." Ultimately all depend on God for preservation and that is of special value to those who are his beloved children.

These principles seem to indicate that God is able to sustain those to whom He has given a responsibility. Therefore, no matter the difficulties, an overseer should never relinquish that responsibility. Like the Levites (Numbers 8:24-26), he may be spared to the age when he should relinquish some of his activities and mentor others in doing the work. If an elder sins, he may be rebuked publicly (1 Timothy 5:19-21). If he is unwilling to conform to the standard for overseers, his peers may inevitably decide he must be removed from a place for which he is not fit. Otherwise, overseership is a lifelong commitment.

D. Oliver