Peter had seen a lot in his life. By the power and grace of God, the brash, speak-firstthink-second fisherman grew into a mature and wise elder in the Lord’s church. From his vast experience and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter writes to encourage other elders. He says that elders should shepherd the flock of God among them. While the church is worldwide, elders have a sphere of influence. There is a flock of God “among them,” and that is the group God has asked them to lead. It is God’s will that they should serve willingly and eagerly as an example to the flock. The verb Peter uses to describe their leadership is shepherd. We don’t have a lot of experience with shepherds today, but David wrote Psalm 23 to describe what God is like as a shepherd. A shepherd feeds and cares for the flock. He protects them from dangerous threats from the outside. He cares for any of the sheep that get injured and helps bring them back to health. He ensures that the entire flock has plenty of food to eat and water to drink.

In the same way an elder in the church must guard against those threats that come in from outside. Elders are also responsible for the teaching and preaching that feeds their flock. And it is elders who care for the spiritually wounded and help nurse them back to strength. When a church member is sick, James tells him to call for the elders. When members suffer loss or hard times, they need the comforting presence of an elder. The sheep must know their shepherds, and they get to know them best when the shepherds feed and care for them.

Peter also points out that an elder must always strive to lead the church in a godly way because all elders are actually “under shepherds” who report to the Chief Shepherd. Jesus commanded Peter three times to “feed My sheep.” He spent the rest of his life doing just that.

Today I will…remember that I am a sheep. Hebrews 13:17 reminds me to do all I can to make sure the elders’ work is a joy to them and not a burden. How can I work to be a good sheep and appreciate my shepherds?