Summary: A seasoned pastor shares insight with his "fellow elders."
Peter knew... he just knew... after it was all said and done… after Jesus had risen from the dead, after his cowardly betrayal… Peter just knew... he was out. He not "the Rock" or the leader he imagined. What was he going to do now?
Well a man has to earn a living… so he went back to what he knew… fishing. You know the story. He clocks in at his old workplace... and settles in for a day of back breaking labor. And then there is a stranger on the shore. Jesus comes and recreates the events that caused Peter to leave his nets in the first place.
And then very gently... restores Peter to his destiny... replacing his fishing pole with a shepherd’s crook. He goes from “Clean those fish” to “Feed my sheep!”
As you read the book of 1 Peter you discover that Peter was a good study… He transitioned well to his new career… and he passes on some of what he learned to us.
1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Let’s look at some principles about Shepherding from the passage this morning.
1. Good Shepherds Possess Humility.
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder,
Life has a way of knocking you down a peg.
Lt. Gary Malcolmson was stationed on a destroyer in Long Beach, Calif., and his wife’s parents came to visit. They arranged to take them to a waterfront restaurant for dinner right after he returned from an official Navy function, still dressed in his crisp white uniform, complete with colorful rows of ribbons on my chest and black shoulder boards displaying gold stripes,
While waiting for their table, Gary stood outside by the main entrance with his father-in-law, a World War II veteran, and began explaining the responsibilities of a Navy officer.
Just then, an attractive woman got out of her car and walked toward them. "Here," she said, handing Gary her car keys, "and be careful not to scratch my car when you park it." - Contributed to "Humor In Uniform" by Lt. Gary - R. Malcolmson (Reader’s Digest)
Fellow elder: This seems odd to me coming from Peter. You know, Peter, the loud, foot in the mouth, braggart of the Gospels. “Though every one else forsake you (I’m sure he made a sweeping gesture.) I will never forsake you.” Yet he did. But here, the Disciple (formerly known as Arrogant) is now a humble “fellow elder”. He calls himself here a “Sympresbyteros,” literally: “fellow shepherd.” He is putting himself on the same level as the pastors he is writing to.
One person put it: “This is Pavorotti joining the barber shop quartet.”
But a good leader never sees himself as above those he is leading. He is called to labor alongside them.
2. Good Shepherd Have Authority.
“…a witness of Christ’s sufferings…”
This is not an insignificant. The New Concise Bible Dictionary refers to an Apostle as: “those called by God and witnesses to the resurrection.”
To say that he was “a witness of Christ’s sufferings” is to say that he is an apostle… and therefore has the right to lead them. So as a Fellow Shepherd, Peter speaks to them with shared experience. As a witness of Christ, he speaks to them with endowed authority.
We each have our calling from God. If it takes us to a leadership type of role… we need to speak from that position.
(If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.)
Don’t be afraid to take up the role of Leader if God has places you there. Take your role seriously and then remember…
3. Good Shepherds are Hopeful.
"and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:"
A leader can be humble and authoritative and… downright uninspiring. You have to communicate hope as well.
William Willimon says it well: ‘People are ripe for a voice that gives them something significant worth living and dying for.’
– H.B. London (The Heart of the Pastor, p.22)
Staff member Rick Marshall recalls the spring of 1991 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Billy [Graham] had been visiting with dignitaries, and Marshall came to escort him to preach. He found him completely exhausted.
“Dr. Graham, it is time to take the stage,” Marshall said.