The call to shepherd God’s people is an amazing privilege. While I believe that every calling is important in whatever arena – marketplace, academe, athletics, business, entertainment, media – God has specific instructions to those who have been called to full-time ministry.
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:2-4)
We are called to serve in these ways:
1. Willingly NOT obligatory.
It is an extreme privilege to serve the King.
Serving Him is not a “have-to” but a “get-to”.
Imagine, we get to do what we do. Years ago, we were lost, without purpose and no direction. But because of His grace, we have been given the opportunity to feed the sheep (John 21) and care for the flock (1 Peter 5).
If you find that you are forcing yourself to meet people, prepare for the message on Sunday, pray for people, then consider what’s causing it. Either check your attitude or check your calling.
2. Sacrificial service not personal gain.
We live in a culture where people love to serve. We are a very hospitable people. People love to serve those who are called to serve in the Kingdom of God full time.
As a result, it is quite possible that we can start to enjoy certain ‘privileges’ that are given. We are called to serve and not be served. Jesus came to do just that. We are called to follow that example.
You might find yourself being the first in the buffet line, or being given a seat while everyone stands, or getting special treatment because you are the ‘special guest’ or your Starbucks drink is paid for with an extra chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. When you do find yourselves in these situations, consider the reasons, motives, and consequences.
3. Leading by example NOT lording over people.
A lot of lessons are really more caught than taught. And the power of example can never be underestimated. Paul declared, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
Peter encourages the elders of the church he was writing to lead by example. It’s a tough call but the grace of God is overwhelmingly available. He who called us is faithful and He will do it. (1 Thes. 5:24).
Are we asking people to do things that we ourselves won’t do?
If no one else will do it, are we willing to take the initiative?
As we lead, are we doing it for Christ or just so we can give a good example?
That being said, let’s continue to pray for one another, the church of Jesus and all who have yet to hear the wonderful message of Christ’s work on the cross.
Jesus said that He will build His church and the gates of Hades will not prevail. Our role? To continue to plant and water. The growth and increase? That’s up to God.
To all the pastors, thank you for all that you do for the Kingdom of God. I honor you for loving Jesus, preaching the gospel and training leaders who will go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.