1 Peter 5:1–5 (ESV)
Shepherd the Flock of God
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly,
as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be
subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
This passage can be confusing to
Lutherans who understand “elders” to refer to those in spiritual leadership under the pastor. This is not a proper definition. The Greek word used here is “presbyteros” which is properly defined as the pastor. So this paragraph is speaking
to pastors, who shepherd the flock of God. In the Lutheran church, what we call “elders” could more accurately be called “deacons”. As a pastor, I don’t know of any pastor that can read this and say “job well done!”
No, it is humbling to read, yet necessary, and should be inspiring to reach out and be a better shepherd. I must admit that it hurts when a sheep is wandering away and won’t talk to you. I take it personal and it hurts. I did help a retired pastor share
with me when I was telling him that my sheep often keep me up at night because I am worried about them. It hurts when they refuse instruction and don’t care. He reminded me of a saying my dad often said: “You can lead a horse to water, but you
can’t make him drink.” I realized that he was right. I can work with them, talk with them, but I can’t make them do anything. They have to want to do it. With that said... It still hurts.
O Lord, help me to be a better shepherd and help me to lead them to still waters. I also pray Lord that you give them a thirst for your spiritual waters. Amen.