Open my eyes, Lord, so I see you walking beside me: protecting, encouraging, loving–drawing me into praise and worship.
Read 1 Peter 5:1-7
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Christian leaders are to be builders of God’s kingdom, not kingdom builders for themselves.
Having spoken to citizens, slaves, wives, husbands and people struggling with hardship, Peter now turns to those who minister in the church. What he says is implicit in his teaching throughout the letter, but the pastors must know it applies to them also. Leaders in the church are servants. Selfless service must be central in their shepherd role, as they care for, tend and protect those in their charge. It is not to be shaped by duty, but by willingness to give themselves to others.
Peter offers two practical examples of what this means. Money is not to be too prominent in Christian leadership. It’s a note we need to sound today, when many of us are “professional Christians”–paid to witness to Christ. A biblical principle is that people should be paid for the work they do (1 Tim. 5:18), but once our witness becomes dependent on payment, it is compromised. Eagerness to serve, rather than greed, should motivate leaders. Power should not be too prominent either: church leadership is not the place for control freaks. Instead, leaders must be living examples of Christ’s love and humility. Sadly, we are slow to learn this truth, even today; we see the tragedy of fellowships split apart through the insensitivity of ministers and heavy-handedness instead of pastoral care.
When ministers are servant leaders, young people can be asked to accept their authority. Without abuses of power in governance, opposition or pride are less likely and the whole church can begin to experience mutual humility before God. Differences in temperament and personality can be appreciated and enjoyed as God is given space to work his grace and gifting. This is certainly the description of a mature church, but through the Holy Spirit it can be a description of us all.
What leadership responsibilities (we all have some) do you have? How do you score on Peter’s leadership test? How can you improve your score?
Father, I need Your help to be silent so I can listen, listen so I can learn, learn so I can serve, and serve so I can lead others to Christ.
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