“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
It appears from the context that the author is addressing church leaders. It goes without saying that Christians are to obey the civil authorities up to the point of disobeying God. Each church was given directions to appoint leaders over the congregation of people. These are referenced by different titles in the New Testament, and they are stipulated certain requirements. Sometimes they are referred to as elders, sometimes as overseers, and sometimes as bishops. Whichever name you use, they speak of the same office.
Their responsibility is also given in various texts, but it is summed up here as watching out for the souls of the congregation. This is their major and primary purpose for being appointed to this position of authority. In many churches today, these men are given responsibility for all the material and/or physical things to do with the church, and its property. That’s humankind trying to do God’s work. The church leaders are to look out for souls, not buildings and parking lots. There is another responsibility for those physical things. It is the office of deacon or church servant.
We also learn from this passage that our cooperation with the leaders of the church is for our well being. It’s to our advantage rather than our disadvantage to follow the leaders as they follow Christ. A Christian brother or sister should not act in such a way as to cause problems for the leaders.
Task for Today: Honor God by honoring His appointed leaders. Support them in every Godly decision and encourage them as they encourage you. Pray for a church leader each and every day. Thank God that they are looking out for your spiritual welfare.