Elders

Harry Buis

READ : 1 Peter 5:1-4

There was diversity in church government in the first century, but the most common pattern was a group of elders who also carried out the role of pastor. Although Peter was an apostle, he also considered himself to be an elder (v. 1). All Christians should clearly understand the role of the elder.

As Christ is the Good Shepherd, elders are to be shepherds to the congregation, with a concern for the spiritual condition of each member. They are to be overseers (v. 2), with authority that is to be used humbly. They are to be glad to do the work of an elder (v. 2). It is an indication of the low level of our spiritual life today that so many are unwilling to do this important work.

Apparently some elders were paid workers in the church of the first century, but pay is not to be the motivation (v. 2). Elders are not to be bossy, but focus on being good examples (v. 3).

We are saved by grace alone, but when Christ returns we will receive an eternal reward, depending on the degree to which we have used our opportunities to serve others (v. 4). It is difficult to understand how this will work but the Bible teaches this fact in many places. Elders, do you serve in the spirit described here? Christians, do you have a high respect for the office of elder?

PRAYER

Father, give us the willingness to serve in Your church in whatever way we can. In Jesus’ name. Amen.