Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 23, 2021

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, … shepherd the flock of God among you”.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 5:1-4.

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 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;  nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  1 Peter 5:1-4. 


Today’s Scripture is more general as to how an elder is to act:  like a good shepherd.  It leads us to meditate on how Christ is “The Good Shepherd” and is a good example for elders to follow.  

But, before we consider Scriptures on how Christ is our Good Shepherd is a good example for elders to follow, I will first include one Scripture with more specific characteristics of an elder.  

It is also good to pause and note that this first following Scripture does repeat the very important point in today’s Scripture that elders are must be “not fond of sordid gain”.  We have seen or heard about preachers who stand aloof from their congregation and are more concerned about how they can lord over those in their congregation to gain from their position.   

Other specific points in this first following Scripture are similar.  “God’s steward” in today’s Scripture is similar to the following Scripture stating that elders must act “according to the will of God”, and “with eagerness” is similar to stating that elders must be “loving what is good”.  

“For the overseer (a/k/a elder) must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”  Titus 1:7-9.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15. 

When we consider that Jesus knows His own, it makes us consider the importance of elders knowing the sheep in their flock.  When we love our spouse, our children, and others, we want to know them as much as we can.  Consider the sharp contrast of a bad elder lording it over those allotted to their charge, not caring to know them and treating them as objects, with a good elder knowing our weaknesses in order to know how best to help us.  Like Christ, as our high priest, a good elder “… can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;”  Hebrews 5:2.

“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord;  You know that I love You.”  He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”  John 21:15.  Notice the tenderness of Jesus referring to the sheep as “lambs” and the amount of care involved in the word “tend”.  

In conclusion, the very popular Psalm 23 chapter, about the LORD being our Shepherd, can help us meditate on how an elder can act like a good shepherd to “tend” the sheep in his flock.  Here are just some examples.  An elder can know our wants (needs) and work with others in the church such as deacons to help provide at least some of the basic necessities.  An elder can provide spiritual rest to his sheep by his preaching and teaching.  An elder can also guide his sheep “in the paths of righteousness” by his preaching and teaching.  An elder can protect his sheep from heresy and from wandering away by the rod and staff of discipline.  Most importantly, an elder can preach and teach the true doctrine of salvation so that his sheep “will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”     

“The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm chapter 23.


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