Tending the Flock

Jack Roeda

READ : 1 Peter 5:1-5

To the elders among you . . . be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care. (vv. 1-2 NIV)

If we suppose that this is only some stale advice on church governance, we’re
forgetting that the church makes its home in the crucible, and that the devil is on the
prowl like a roaring lion (5:5). This command is calling for leadership in a combat
zone.

In many of the earliest Greek manuscripts Peter begins verse 1 with “Therefore,”
connecting the command with what he said earlier. In light of the painful trial the church
is suffering (4:12), “tend to the flock of God.” The times are dangerous. Holiness – being a people dedicated to God – is not something we will just drift into. There is
fierce opposition; the challenges are great.

In such circumstances the leadership required must be God-inspired. Those who tend the
flock must do so willingly, indeed, must be eager to serve. Their task is not only to get
those in their care into heaven, but to get heaven into them. They are to make disciples.
Such shepherding should be the hallmark of our life together.

Seward Hiltner has written: “Shepherding is in some degree present in everything done
by pastor or church. A group meeting, a sermon or a letter may contain as much shepherding
intent and effect as does a bit of pastoral counseling. The notion of tender and
solicitous concern . . . is in some measure present in everything done by pastor and
church, if these are rightly done” (Preface to Pastoral Theology).

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, send faithful shepherds to tend your sheep. Amen.