Monday in the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Peter 5:1-5

Shepherd the Flock of God

The Apostle is coming close to the end of his letter to these chosen exiles scattered throughout Asia Minor.  Before finishing, he addresses the elders, those who shepherd the flock of God.  It’s an awesome responsibility to serve as under-shepherd for the sake of God’s elect.  No man should take it lightly.  Peter offers some encouraging words and some instruction as to how to lead.

The Apostle identifies himself as a “fellow elder,” not that he was an elder in an official way as were the men he was addressing—Peter was an apostle—but a fellow elder in the sense that he shares their task and care for Church of God, their struggles and anxieties (NICNT, 176).  He also identifies himself as “a witness of the sufferings of Christ,” both when he was his disciple before the Lord’s passion and as one who shared in those sufferings as an apostle.  Finally, he identifies himself “as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed.”  We cannot be apostles and may never be elders but we can and will share in our Lord’s sufferings in the present and in the glory that shall one day be revealed in the future (Philippians 3:10-11).  But it shows the heart of this great man who was commissioned an apostle of Jesus Christ, was hand-picked to live with him for three years and witness to his resurrection—for this man to refer to himself as a “fellow-anything” to ourselves shows his deep humility.

And he expects these men to behave the same way.  They are to shepherd the flock with gentleness and humility.  They should exercise their oversight not because they have to but willingly and gladly, and not for any sort of gain, be it financial or otherwise.  And they must do all this not in a domineering manner but as examples to the flock.  They are not sheepdogs who snap but shepherds who patiently lead.  Indeed, leadership by example is the New Testament pattern (Mark 10:42-45; Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:12 [NICNT, 181]).  But though shepherds must not dominate, sheep must be responsive and willing to follow.  And so he calls on those younger (and we may assume everyone else) to be subject to the elders so that (echoing Hebrews 13:17) they may perform their ministry “with joy and not with groaning.”  Humility is the chief virtue of all the saints and when it is practiced by all the brethren—we call that a church.

The reward for being a faithful shepherd is great.  Hang in there pastors.   One day you will get to hear, “Well done,” and all will be worth it.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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