As the Apostle Peter neared the end of his life he wrote powerful words of instruction to those who were leaders of God’s people. Coming alongside special men, Peter urged them to shepherd God’s flock. Then he carefully defined what their motives and attitudes should look like. Those same penetrating words of truth ring applicable to us today.
1 Peter 5:1-4—Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: shepherd God's flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God's will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Elders must oversee people of the church free of compulsion and with great sensitivity to knowing God’s will. Their decision-making should not revolve around how they are wired, how the crowd feels, or because of peer pressure. They make decisions because they have listened to the Holy Spirit! For this motive to succeed requires quality time spent in understanding God’s Word and frequent communication with Him in prayer.
Elders lead with strong enthusiasm and zeal, not for the money or for benefits. The key to this motive ties into a correct understanding of treasure. Jesus taught, “But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew. 6:20-21)
Elders are not to be bossy, domineering chiefs over the people God gives them. The key to their authority is humility! Great elders bring a foot-washing mentality to those they are committed to helping spiritually grow. Beware of leaders enamored with title or position and who seem to need to dominate or control people so as to constantly get their way. Such leaders reject the cloth the Carpenter wore to don the robes of Pharisees.
Elders must serve as proper examples. This calls for an attitude of godliness fueled by love. Elders before acting or making major decisions should ask, “What would Jesus do?” They should value holiness, protect their character and God’s reputation and be lifelong learners. Because they adore God, they live out a love for people that allows them to feel safe and valued in their presence. Have you noticed how gentle and kind those who walk with the Lord become as they mature? Godly elders are like honey that nourishes and leaves the eyes bright and the body healthy.
In return for providing godly leadership, God promises elders an unfading crown of glory. How much better to have heavenly splendor than earthly reward that vanishes with time!
Lord, bless those You have placed in authority. Remove those who tarnish Your name. Strengthen, equip and give courage to those committed to serving You by serving others. And help us Lord to set aside our selfish agendas and do a better job of encouraging and blessing those who sacrifice much to make us better. Amen.
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)