So 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." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (1 Peter 5:1-6 ESV)
Why do I lead? What is my motive? These are two important questions to consider periodically as a pastor and church leader. Peter had his motives checked more than once by Christ during his tutorials as a young disciple. He exhibited some of the same weaknesses that we face as we grow and develop as leaders, including impulsiveness (cf., John 18:10), overconfidence (cf., Mark 14:29), envy (cf., John 21:20-22) and controlling tendencies (cf., John 13:8). By the time he wrote his first letter, he was no doubt familiar with brokenness and humility. He was not only a leader, but a “broken-in” leader. Today’s pastors or leaders are wise to consider Peter’s advice regarding leadership motivations.

The book of 1 Peter opens by establishing the fact that all believers (leaders included) will suffer difficulties and challenges. He goes on to say that we should learn to view such “opportunities” with an attitude of joyful expectation, to trust that God will use them to spur our growth. The question Peter seeks to answer in this passage is: Why should a pastor or church leader be willing to suffer? His answer: Because of the reward God has promised. Before he reveals that reward, however, he taps into the important area of leadership motivation.

After deconstructing false (and ungodly) motivations for leadership, Peter paints a picture of what good and godly leadership looks like. He chooses the metaphor of a good shepherd, which Christ used in John 10. He digs deeply into the core of a leader’s motivation and calls them to not just fill a leadership slot, hold a title or take on an office, but to “be shepherds of God’s flock.” “Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care.…” (1 Peter 5:2a).

One question worth asking at this point is this: What relationship do “pressures,” “profit” and “power” have? Is there a common denominator? C.S. Lewis would say there is—PRIDE. Here’s how he describes it in Mere Christianity:

“Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… [and] Pride is essentially competitive – by its very nature ... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”

One of the best ways to keep ourselves and the people we serve humble is to keep our eyes, hearts and minds focused on the Word of God. It not only purifies us, it also humbles us. As leaders, our duty is to help people turn away from pride and stay engaged in the Word of God.

SCRIPTURE ENGAGEMENT MAGNIFIES OUR VIEW OF GOD AND HUMBLES OUR VIEW OF OURSELVES.

Devotional by YouVersion