To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
One can only imagine how personal it must have been for Peter to write these words. Peter had himself once been charged with caring for the people of God, “God’s flock”. Would the words of Jesus, spoken directly to him at such a critical time in his life (John 21:15-17) stir within him his own calling? How humble of Peter to identify with these individuals who were serving as elders. Yes. Peter was an elder but he was also Peter(!), the close friend of Jesus and one of the original apostles. Churches have leaders, they have primary leaders; individuals who can be financially supported as they fulfill the gift of the elder and shepherd God’s people. They should also be a person of integrity and lead by example. They are also accountable to the Shepherd who shepherds them (Ps. Dale).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
- Who can you encourage with this story/message?
Pray for all of the Shanghai Christian Council Churches and Pastors.