Several times in the Old Testament, God refers to Himself as a Shepherd. From Jeremiah to the Psalms, the Old Testament is filled with these references. Even in the New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the “Good Shepherd” (listen for this in our call to worship), and He is referred to as the “Chief Shepherd” in our text today.
What is striking is that the “Chief Shepherd” calls elders to do the work of “Shepherding” within the ministry of the church. That’s right…one of the main callings of the elder is to “shepherd the flock of God” and serve as under-shepherds to the Chief Shepherd.
That means that the work of an elder far exceeds just coming to Session meetings and making decisions; rather, in order to properly “shepherd the flock,” elders must do several things: They must feed the flock, protect the flock, care for the flock, and love the flock. These are the aspects of shepherding.
And how are they to do this? The text in 1 Peter 5:1-5 provides three positives and three negatives on the “how” question. Here they are:
1) “not under compulsion” (v. 2);
2) “not for shameful gain” (v. 2); and
3) “not domineering” (v. 3)
1) “willingly” (v. 2)
2) “eagerly” (v. 2)
3) “being examples to the flock” (v. 3)
All of this is done with an eye on the second coming of Jesus (see v. 4), our Chief Shepherd, for all under-shepherds are responsible to Him.
Rev. Adam Mumpower, Senior Pastor