Some people “pop off” with opinions and advice about anything and everything “at the drop of a hat.” To listen to them, if you didn’t know better, you’d think they were the reincarnation of Solomon himself! But people usually do know better, and are rather dismissive, taking what they have to say with “a grain of salt,” as the saying goes (don’t ask me what it means ;-).
But other people have “paid their dues” and have earned the right to be heard! Likely someone comes to your mind right now, who if they were giving advice to you, you’d “tune in,” and pay close attention to what they had to say! Behind their words are a lot of experience, genuine concern, and unusual wisdom. They don’t have to “demand attention” – their life, their intellect, their experience, and your knowledge of them “commands your attention!”
I’d say Apostle Peter had earned the right to be heard as a church leader! Today, during my time of “coffee with the Lord,” I read what he had to say to “elders” – those charged with the care of congregations – we call them “pastors.” What he had to say really spoke to me because in the past I’ve been charged with that responsibility. And secondly, because I trust the inspired advice of Apostle Peter and his wisdom and experience! Here’s his advice (and I’d encourage my pastor friends to “listen up” (Not me talking… It’s apostle Peter!)…
“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: 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; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock! And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 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.’” (from 1 Peter 5:1–5 ESV)
Advice for “pastors”… Peter’s word kind of fly in the face of a CEO model of leadership wouldn’t you say? Doesn’t fit very well with a heavy-handed, dictatorial model either does it? Perhaps a good, reflective reading of Psalm 23 might be helpful, or even Ezekiel 34; Jeremiah 23:1-5; or the words of “the Great Shepherd of the Sheep” Himself, in John 10:11-15.
All I know is this: You can have all the other models! I want to be the kind of “spiritual shepherd” Peter urged me to be! I want to follow the example of “the great shepherd” – Jesus! One day, I’ll have to give an account for how I led and cared for God’s flock! I want to hear him say “well done!”