Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feed and Serve and Care and Set the Example

I Pet 5:2,3 "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;"

This is a good reminder to me…this is what an elder of a church is called to do. I really honestly do not know why I am in the position that I am in sometimes. It is an honor, but it is a huge responsibility. I know at times it is an amazing joy. At other times, let's be honest, it is a pain. Why? Because people can bring joy but people also have a tendency to produce problems. I have to remember that an Elder is a shepherd. It is a guy who is called to feed, and keep, and tend to the needs of people. It is a guy who exercises care. (That is actually what overseer means…care giver.) It is a guy who does it willingly…not because he has to. And it is a guy who is motivated properly. It isn't a position of authority for the sake of having authority, or power, or dominance. Rather, it is a place to serve as an example of how God works in a life.

When I think about the responsibility to feed and serve and care and be an example I realize how massive it really is. It means that I have to have a vital walk. It means that I have to be in tune with God, moment by moment so I can be sensitive to the needs of others. It means that I have to take the time to listen. It means that I have to expend the energy to help. It means that I need to spend the time to pray. It means that God should be working in my life in new and fresh and challenging ways, for if this stuff is not happening, then I can't feed others if I have not been fed. I can't place a meal in front of others when I have no food to give. It is tough to serve and care when I am not watching when help is needed and listening to what others are trying to communicate. It is tough to be an example if I am not living Biblically.

Frankly, this is tough stuff. As I think through it is impossible stuff. As I consider some of the issues that lay in front of us in our church of 250 people, I can't imagine what it would be like to be bigger, to have more people, to have more food to give, more needs to meet, more care to extend. Yet, I want us to grow. I want to see more people impacted for Christ. That is why I am grateful for two things. First, God did not call us to do this alone. There must be a group of guys who are called to do this, and we all need to be doing it together. We all need to feed and serve and care and be an example. This is what is known as a "plurality of elders". And it is necessary not just to get more than one head in the mix of ideas, but so that we can all work together to see God's kingdom expand where He has placed us. Second, God did not call us to do this in our own strength. Look at the next verse: "and when the Chief Shepherd appears…". There is One who is the Chief Shepherd. There is One who is the Chief Feeder, and Server, and Career and who has set the ultimate example. He is the One who feeds us and serves us and cares for us and is our example. Just look at Jesus and live like He did.

Feed and serve and care and set an example. This is what God has called us to do.

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