SOAP Devotional 2014-04-29
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
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 will 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 understood that this word was for him as much as it was for the pastors he was writing to. He urges pastors to care for the flock that God has assigned them the responsibility for. They are to take responsibility for these believers willingly and not reluctantly, and not for what they can personally gain of taking care of them, but because you eagerly want to serve God. You are not to be the big shot who bosses everyone around, but instead lead by your own good example. For caring well for the people God has made you responsible for, Jesus, when he returns will see to it that you get a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
Pastoring is not for the feeble. If God “entrusts” people into your care, he expects you to be responsible for their care. This is not just getting them to come to church and this is not just doing what many call pastoral ministry of visiting, going to the hospital, and basic “carry, marry, and bury.” This is to make sure they mature spiritually, are not mislead by false teachers, are trained for ministry, and get fit into their place of ministry. We are to be eager to serve God, and we do that by willingly doing these things for the ones he gives for us to care for. We are not the “Great Shepherd”, that is Jesus. We are under-shepherds, so do not expect undue benefits or do it just for personal gain. Our reward will be in eternity.
Father, the flock you have entrusted to me has changed over the years. Some of those that you have me minister to are already ministers or soon to be ministers themselves, others are newborn babes, and others are still pre-believers. Give me the wisdom to fulfill my role. This I am eager to do because I want to serve as you would have me to serve.