Leaders And Shepherds

Daily Devotional 1 Peter 5: 1-4


Every time we scan the headlines, it seems another Christian leader has fallen into sin. One is guilty of sexual immorality, another of financial wrongdoing, and yet another of an abusive leadership style. True shepherds seem to be in short supply.


When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

1 PETER 5:4


This makes today’s reading even more vitally important. As Peter began to bring this letter to a close, he had specific reminders for pastors and elders. He addressed them as a “fellow elder,” identifying with them and encouraging them although he couldn’t be with them in person (v. 1). His present was the same as theirs— sanctification and suffering. His future was the same as theirs—glorification (see also Rom. 8:18).


Peter instructed church elders: “Be shepherds of God’s flock” (vv. 2–3). The English word “pastor” comes from a Latin word meaning “shepherd.” Church leaders had a responsibility to care for their congregations and to watch over them. Instead of using their positions for dishonest financial gain—as some so-called “Christian leaders” still do today—they should be eager and willing to serve. Their authority is from God and should not be used for personal gain (see Matt. 20:20–28). In addition, they should lead by example or “practice what they preach.”


Peter may have had in mind Christ’s instructions to him personally. When Jesus “reinstated” him following his three denials, He told him: “Feed my sheep” and “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:15–19). His readers and Peter thus understood that if they stumbled, God would forgive and strengthen them.


By leading faithfully, pastors and elders can receive “the crown of glory that will never fade away,” awarded by the Chief Shepherd Himself when He returns (v. 4; see also John 10:11, 14).


>> October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Consider sending a note of encouragement to your pastor or church leaders. We are thankful for those who have devoted their lives to serving God’s people in these important roles.


Pray with Us


God, You are the Chief Shepherd, and You know what our earthly shepherds need. We ask You to bless our pastors with joy in their work, as they study Your Word. Have grace on their failings and help them learn and grow.

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