Jump Start # 2960
1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
Leadership, whether in the home, the community or in the church is something that is greatly needed. The way God designed us was for us to follow leaders. Of all the animals in the created world, God refers to His people as sheep. We are not the lone wolves who can find our way. We are not soaring eagles that can see things from far away. We are not dogs, kittens, turtles or monkeys. We are sheep. And, sheep need leaders. Sheep need watching over. Sheep on their own, do not do well.
Our verse today is very specific. Shepherd the flock of God among you. Following that principle are a pair of negatives and positives. Don’t do this under compulsion. Don’t do this for sordid gain. Rather, do this voluntarily and do this with eagerness. Attitude. Mode. Method. Disposition. All of those qualities are wrapped up in those pairs of words.
Shepherds across the country have taken a lot of grief and criticism in making decisions about masks, assembling and keeping things together. Not everyone was happy. Many complained. Some left. Some thought they could do a better job. And out of this comes five things we need to remember about leading.
First, it’s a lot harder than it looks. So often, the elders must make decisions that personally they’d rather see otherwise, but for the sake of the congregation, for the good of all, those decisions must be made. When we are at home on our couch, only seeing things from our perspective, their job seems pretty simply. It’s all black and white. But the shepherds must consider the young families, as well as the senior citizens, as well as those who travel a long way, as well as those who are struggling. A balance must be considered. There is such a mixture among us. Some are very strong and solid. Others are so weak, it wouldn’t take much to blow them over. Their job is not to make everyone happy. Not at all. Their job is to keep us all going spiritually. It is to see us growing and getting closer to the Lord. That may not make everyone happy, but that is their job.
Second, there is always a context and a background which most of us are not aware of. This is especially true with discipline. The time comes to announce discipline upon a member and some scream, “Why haven’t you talked to them?” Truth is, months and months of talks, prayers and interaction has been taking place. You didn’t know that. Shepherds are not to lead the flock on whims or personal agendas. Not at all. They put a ton thinking, studying, talking among each other into all of their decisions. Most just don’t know that.
Third, it is a whole lot easier to talk about what needs to be done than it is to actually do something. Working with people is hard work. Attitudes, backgrounds, baggage all come to the forefront when talking with people. You and I can sit back and say, “this needs to be done,” or, “they oughta be doing this.” Backseat driving. Arm chair quarterback. We all can be guilty of that. But who is it that actually gets into the mud and tries to pull one of us out and put us back on our feet again? It’s the shepherds. While many of us are talking, even complaining, or worse, gossiping, the shepherds are busy doing. You don’t see what they are doing, but they are busy.
Fourth, Shepherds are looking out for our best interests. They’ll plan a Gospel Meeting, not just because it’s the Spring or Fall, but because they believe the congregation needs a boost. They need to be built up. You and I may not want to come. You and I may have other things that keeps us busy. But they know what we need and they are doing their best to help us. Rather than diving in to the spiritual feasts, many of us roll our eyes at such things and pout.
Fifth, Shepherds love the Lord more than anything else. This is why they are leading us. It’s certainly not for the pay, because most do not receive any pay. It’s not for the praise, because that is often missing. Complaints. Weak hearts. Indifferent spirits. Some who won’t forgive. Some who are stubborn. Some who refuse to change no matter what. That’s what shepherds deal with. And, why? They do so because they love the Lord and they love His people. They want to try to make things better. They want to leave the church better than they found it.
All of this sure makes us wonder about how we talk about the shepherds. It makes us wonder about our attitudes towards them. Do we approach them with a smile and a thankful heart, or are we acting like we are standing in line at customer’s service and we have complaints a mile long? We demand to speak to the one in charge. We demand to get our money back. We demand that they make it right. That’s what happens in stores and restaurants. Are we treating our shepherds the same way?
Maybe it’s time to be thankful to God for them. Maybe it’s time you told them face-to-face that you love them and are glad that they are at the helm of the ship. Where would we be without the shepherds? For many of us, we’d be floating off to la-la-land, singing and dancing with the devil all the way. God’s shepherds keep us close to the book. They keep us loyal to God’s pattern. We sure need them.
Shepherd the flock of God among you…