Serving the Great Shepherd

Donna Melby | March 5, 2018

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1 Peter 5:1–4

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in His glory when He is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly; not grudgingly—not for what you can get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

—1 Peter 5:1–4, NLT

Peter was often the spokesman for the apostles. He had witnessed Jesus’ earthly suffering and death, and His heavenly glory and resurrection. Peter had preached at Pentecost and was considered a pillar of the Jerusalem church. In other words, he was a big shot! But when he wrote to the elders, Peter did not write with a superior tone, as their boss; he wrote as a fellow elder. His message carried an important subtext: I’m a servant, just like you. I’m right here to serve beside you.

When he asked these elders to care for the flock, he was saying and doing exactly what Jesus had asked him to do. He was taking his own advice, working alongside the other elders in caring for God’s faithful people. His identification with the other elders is a good example of Christian leadership. He demonstrated that his authority was based on service and not on power or position.

Think about our leaders at Wheaton Bible Church, Iglesia del Pueblo, and Tri-Village Church. What comes to mind as you pray for our pastors? Personally, I see humble people who are eager to serve God; not because they must, but because they have been called and have freely chosen to obey. In doing so, they serve the Great Shepherd to whom they will answer. And He, Himself, will reward them for that willing service with eternal rewards.

The last verse we are looking at today, verse four, is referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ, when He will judge all people and give rewards to His faithful followers. The crown mentioned pictures the glory and honor that believers will receive. That honor will last forever and ever and will never change. What a day that will be!

Questions for reflection and discussion: Are you doing your part to serve the Great Shepherd? What are your motives? Are you looking for an “atta boy”? How do you feel when no one seems to notice what you are doing?


This week’s devotions were written by Donna Melby. Donna is the author of many short stories and articles, and has been a member of Wheaton Bible Church for three years. A widow with six children and fourteen grandchildren, her favorite verse is 3 John, verse 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

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