Friday, October 30, 2020

Godly Leadership

"Be shepherds of God’s flock … not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2–3)

Peter has written much about submission, humility, and suffering. Now he addresses those who rule (1 Peter 5:1–4). In particular he is addressing those who rule in the church, but what he has to say is relevant by extension to all forms of rule in life.

It is important to see that he begins by mentioning suffering again. He says that he witnessed Christ’s suffering. Christ is the Supreme Elder of the church, and those who are called to be elders or leaders in the church can expect to suffer the same kinds of irritations and temptations He did.

Surely the sinless Jesus Christ must have been tempted to impatience with the idiocies of His disciples. Church leaders may experience the same temptations. Jesus was misunderstood, and church leaders will also be misunderstood. Jesus was falsely charged, and church leaders may have to go through the same experience.

Not all pastors are taken care of the same. I am very blessed to have generous support from the congregation that I serve. But not all share this testimony. Because many pastors are often not paid well, it is easy for them to gradually become more and more concerned about money. They worry about their families, and the older they get, the more they worry. For this reason, most denominations have a policy that a pastor should be paid enough so that he is not afflicted with financial worries. Nevertheless, the temptation to become concerned about finances is very real, and Peter reminds leaders not to let themselves become greedy for money. The way to fight this tendency in ourselves is to focus on serving others.

If a pastor does a good job, he will hear praise. Over the course of time it is possible for him to become puffed up. He may become a man who talks constantly. He may begin to think that he knows it all. Peter warns against this tendency, which will lead to “lording it over” the flock. The way to fight this tendency is to concentrate on being a good example.

Glory and financial security are not evil things in themselves, but our hearts are such that we readily abuse them. Thus, Peter says that all of us must fight to be humble. We must strive to clothe ourselves with humility and cast our anxieties on God rather than seek to provide for ourselves (1 Peter 5:5–7).

Humility is the most elusive of Christian graces. Once you realize its presence, you lose it. Yet genuine humility should be sought by all. It is found in serving others. Don’t be too proud to discover the real needs of other believers.