Awaiting the Chief Shepherd
Scripture reading for November 26th: 1st Peter 4:12-5:14
Peter addressed the elders in the body of Christ. Elders were the senior leaders of the church and usually held offices of pastor, bishop or overseer. They were primarily there to serve and lead by example. Jesus taught His disciples that the path to greatness in His kingdom was to become a servant of all! (Mark 10:42-45)
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under our care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” (1st Peter 5:1-4)
Peter was an eye-witness of Jesus Christ’s life, suffering, and death. Peter appealed to those in leadership as an equal brother and one who would share in the reward of faithful service in Christ’s Body, the Church. He was a fisherman but learned the shepherd metaphor from the Lord Himself. Jesus had taught His disciples that He was the Good Shepherd that laid His life down for the Sheep. (John 10:11, 14) On another occasion, Jesus had likened the crowd as ‘sheep without a shepherd.’ (Mark 6:34) Finally, Jesus had challenged Peter three times to feed or care for ‘My sheep’ in response to Peter’s declarations of love for Him. (John 21:15-17)
As Jesus willingly served the flock of God’s people, so are those in the positions of elders to willing serve God’s people in the church. Elders aren’t to be motivated by money, but by love of the Savior and His sheep! Eagerness to serve should be a mark of a true leader. The world’s leaders lord it over those they lead, but in the church a humble servant’s heart should mark the men and women of God. This example of servant-leadership will do much to shape the hearts of the flock to be more like their Chief Shepherd!
Jesus is coming back! His reward is with Him for those who faithfully serve His flock! A crown of glory awaits those who are willing servants and examples of Christ’s love!