1 Peter 5:1-14
Some keys to the continued faithfulness of the church as the days continue – individual christians, gathered churches and networked believers.
Shepherd with integrity. Leadership that has at its heart a desire to bless, not to profit, exploit or dominate. Leadership that understands that in the church, whatever is true in the world, our lifestyle speaks as loudly as our words. Called to be an example to the flock. Peter points out three pitfalls to his fellow leaders. There is 1. Ministry without calling – treating leadership as a task to be done, and not a matter of gift and call.
2. Ministry without service – setting aside the call to a servant heart, and instead looking for gain: material or intangible (could be respect, influence, control).
3. Ministry without responsibility – believing that we can behave however we want, because we are above question.
Don’t miss the truth that, while Peter is writing as one church leader to another, these same truths are relevant to every situation in which we are placed in a position of authority. Might be at work; as a parent; as a carer.
Submit with humility. Humility is the key here. Being prepared to believe that another person – whoever that might be – might just have an alternative vision, a different way of seeing. Peter doesn’t mean ‘just do what you are told’ – this is Peter were’ talking about, and he didn’t live that way – Acts 15 as example of how this works. And remember 1 Tim 4:12 – it’s simply about mutual respect, which isn’t just ‘a good idea’ but is God’s instruction.
Stand with sobriety. Look our world full in the face; see what is beneath and within the events you see around. Be aware that some things that look good are concealing real evil; and some things that look dubious contain what is good. Jesus’ ministry spotted the influence of Satan in the wise words of Peter, and the grace of God in tax collectors and prostitutes. Focus always on the person of Jesus in this.
These are days of suffering for many. See Satan at work in the evil of the world; and discern carefully and correctly who the enemy really is. Not other people, no matter how tempting it is to demonise them. But ‘principalities and powers; the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’. Open your eyes.
Support with sincerity. Peter finishes, as does Paul so often, with a reminder that the church is more than just a single gathered group; that we are part of something bigger. Peter’s writing from Rome to Turkey – a huge province. And Silas and Mark are part of this too. Church needs the wider perspective to thrive.
SFA 177 His name is wonderful
SFA 49 Blest be the tie that binds
SFA 303 Jesus stand among us
SFB 892 Lord for the years
SFA 599 When we walk with the Lord