Jeremiah and Ezekiel: Eccentric Relatives and Seaside Musings on Eldership

Setting: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and their quirky cousin Barnabas—who they often call “Barney” when he says something especially silly—find themselves at a beautiful seaside beach. The waves crash gently, children laugh and play, and seagulls squawk overhead. The trio is trying to discuss the complexities of eldership in the church, but Barney keeps things interesting.

Jeremiah: [pushing his sunhat back] Ezekiel, I’ve been thinking about the role of elders again. You know, how they’re supposed to lead without being authoritarian.

Ezekiel: [adjusting his beach chair] Absolutely, Jeremiah. Elders are shepherds, not tyrants. They need to guide without lording it over the flock.

Barnabas: [joining the conversation with a goofy grin] Hey, fellas, did you know that “rule” can mean different things? Like, I once ruled over my backyard kingdom with a mighty garden hose! [laughs at his own joke]

Jeremiah: [chuckling] Ah, Barney, always with the corny jokes. But you’re onto something. Words like “rule” in the Bible have various meanings. It’s crucial to understand the context.

Ezekiel: [smiling] Right, Jeremiah. Just like how “fast” can mean quick or going without food. When we talk about the rule of elders, we need to look at the specific Greek words used in the New Testament.

Barnabas: [scratching his head] Greek, huh? Like the yogurt? [winks]

Jeremiah: [laughing] Not quite, Barney. We’re talking about the original language of the New Testament. Words like “arche” and “despotes” aren’t used to describe elders. These words suggest authoritarian rule, which isn’t what elders should have.

Ezekiel: [gesturing to the ocean] Just like how the sea is vast and uncontrollable, the rule of elders isn’t about exerting complete control over others. They’re not meant to be despots or rulers of provinces.

Barnabas: [trying to keep up] So, no ruling like a king on his throne? More like guiding the ship gently through the waters?

Jeremiah: [nodding] Exactly, Barney. Elders must lead without being authoritarian. As Peter said, they shouldn’t “lord it over” the flock. They need to guide, counsel, and serve.

Ezekiel: [watching a seagull swoop] Remember when Jesus talked about the rulers of the Gentiles? He said they lord it over people, but it shouldn’t be that way among us. Elders should lead by example, not by dominating others.

Barnabas: [leaning in] So, if an elder starts acting like a king, we should give him a timeout? [grins]

Jeremiah: [laughing] Not quite, but close. Elders should be reminded that their role is to serve, not to rule with an iron fist. They’re to be shepherds who care for the flock, not bosses who bark orders.

Ezekiel: [smiling] Exactly. The word “rule” in Hebrews 13:17, for instance, is about leading and guiding, not dominating. Elders are to be leaders through their example and counsel.

Barnabas: [pondering] So, it’s like being the head lifeguard at the beach. You guide and protect, but you don’t throw people out of the water just because you can.

Jeremiah: [smiling] That’s a great analogy, Barney. Elders are there to watch over our souls, much like lifeguards watch over swimmers. They’re to lead by influence, not by force.

Ezekiel: [nodding] Yes, Barney. And just like lifeguards, elders need to act with care, love, and humility. Their leadership is about service, not power.

Barnabas: [looking thoughtful] So, if elders are supposed to lead without being bossy, what happens when they start acting like dictators?

Jeremiah: [serious now] That’s a problem. If elders start exerting authoritarian control, it goes against what Jesus taught. They need to be reminded of their true role and the biblical principles of leadership.

Ezekiel: [watching the waves] Elders are meant to guide, not control. Their authority comes from their ability to counsel and lead by example, not from a position of power.

Barnabas: [smiling again] Got it! Elders are like those sandcastle builders over there. They help shape and guide, but they don’t own the beach.

Jeremiah: [laughing] Perfectly put, Barney. Elders help shape the church through their service and leadership, but they don’t control it. They guide with love and wisdom.

Ezekiel: [grinning] And just like the tides, their influence should ebb and flow gently, nurturing the congregation without overwhelming it.

Barnabas: [laughing] You guys are deep! Almost as deep as the ocean!

Jeremiah: [smiling] Thanks, Barney. And thanks for keeping things light. It’s good to remember that leadership, especially in the church, should always come with a touch of humility and humor.

Ezekiel: [nodding] Absolutely. Now, how about a swim? We’ve earned it after all this deep thinking.

Barnabas: [jumping up] Last one in is a rotten fish!

[The trio laughs and races to the water, their discussion about elders’ roles and responsibilities buoyed by the light-heartedness of family and the beauty of the seaside setting.]