I exhort the elders who are among you, as one who is also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:1 Peter 5:1 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Peter writes an encouragement to the elders… Not as someone who is above them in any way. He does it this way so as to not usurp Jesus Christ as Lord. Peter identifies himself as a witness of what happened to Jesus. He also tells the elder that he like them, and is looking forward to eternity with Jesus.
Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly.1 Peter 5:2 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It is the elder who shepherds. A shepherd doesn’t just guide his sheep. He is with them always. He tends to their needs and pastures them for feeding. He even smells like his sheep. The sheep know the voice of the shepherd. These are all things to keep in mind when seeing the word shepherd.
The elder ought to also serve not because he is forced to do so. Nor should it be a burden. Such a person enters into the service willingly. He doesn’t do it for the accolades. Nor does he use his position for selfish gain.
Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.1 Peter 5:3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The idea of being an elder is to be an example. This is for all leaders in the church. Elders don’t bark orders and expect the sheep to blindly comply. As a shepherd guides sheep, barking orders and expecting compliance won’t work.
Too many want to lead and be the one who orders charges to do the bidding. It doesn’t work that way in God’s economy. We are all fellow partakers, and an elder is an intimate part of the flock he tends. He must lead by example.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.1 Peter 5:4 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The Chief Shepherd is Jesus Christ. He is coming back. When He does, what you’ve worked for is yours. It’s yours forever.
Those things that you sow in the kingdom of God don’t fade away. They don’t disappear and they cannot be taken away from you.
The elder ultimately serves because he wants to do it. Selfless service is costly in the real world we live in now. Yet we are promised it is handsomely rewarded in the next.