Verse: 1Peter 5:1-4
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 your 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.

Your first thought when reading these verses may be that this doesn’t apply to you.  Clearly this is for church leaders like pastors and home group leaders.  That’s true.  But I do think that there is truth here for all of us.  All of us lead something: a group of friends, a family, a work group, a community club.  How should we lead today?

If we look to examples in the world around us, we see a lot of people who lead for the glory and power of being the leader.  I am sure we have had bosses or know of bosses at work who are always right and take all the credit for the group’s successes.  Maybe you were raised by a strict disciplinarian father and that is your model for leadership.

But Peter describes a leader that would have been counter-cultural at the time and is still at odds with leaders today.  Christian leaders should view themselves as shepherds taking care of sheep.  The shepherd knows what the sheep need and serves them and protects them.  To know the needs of those you lead, one thing you need to do is listen to them.  Do people think you are a good listener?  Listening deeply takes time and patience.  

Peter says that we should be examples to the flock.  I am sure that every parent comes to this conclusion after a few years of leading their family.  Saying “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work.  Kids are human hypocrisy detectors!  Adults are pretty good at it too.  If you say you are a Christian but live your life like everyone else, what does being a Christian mean?  Whereas if you are an example of goodness and righteousness and humility and forgiveness, wouldn’t those that you lead see that and be drawn to the source of those attributes – Jesus.  

I hope you don’t think I have taken you too far from the text.  Much of what Peter has written about in this letter is how we should live in this world (masters and slaves, men and women, suffering).  Let’s ask ourselves today if we are living and leading others the way that Jesus would want us to.  

Jesus, we want to be more like you in all we do.  Help us to see where you would have us grow so that our example would more reflect you.  Thank you that you love us now and forever.   

Author: Brad Dunn