Follow As You Lead

Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion, but willingly according to God; and not for dishonest gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.     1 Peter 5:2-5 LSB

As Christians, we are reborn and begin as babies. We must grow into maturity. It’s a process that takes time. We grow by studying our Bible, praying and following good examples. We are told in Ephesians 5:1-2 to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us.

When we get saved, it’s important that we find good mentors. We need to get into a good Bible teaching church where the truth is taught and preached. We need to find a pastor and church members that are strong leaders of the flock and won’t lead us astray.

In our Scripture passage, Peter is exhorting the leaders of the church to shepherd the flock. It is a pastor’s responsibility to shepherd their sheep. It is also the responsibility of the teachers and more mature members. They are to lead them and guide them along the way.

Peter then encourages the younger members of the congregation to subject themselves to the elders. Now, it’s important here to understand that your age has nothing to do with your spiritual maturity. My dad got saved at the age of 80, so he was still a very young Christian perhaps still in the baby stage when he died at 85.

My dad had been in the army and served during World War II and had owned his own business for most of his adult life. These things did not make him a mature Christian, however. Our status in the world has nothing to do with our spiritual status or growth.

Those called to shepherd have an awesome responsibility. As we grow, I believe we are all called to shepherd to some extent. While our pastors have the biggest responsibility in this field, we as lay people, also have a responsibility to shepherd or lead others.

As we mature in our walk with Christ, we must be there to guide others who are not as far along in the process as we are. We must be there to mentor them. We must be there to gently rebuke them when they go astray or get confused. This will happen. It happened to me, and I am so thankful that I had good Christian mentors to set me straight.

I ask are you a follower or a leader? If you are a follower, be a good follower. Don’t take the reins and try to lead. Study your Bible and follow Jesus’ lead. Humble yourself and follow the instructions of your leader and accept correction.

If you are a leader, be careful not to allow a follower to take the lead. You may be impressed with their worldly credentials, but you must remember they are baby Christians. Don’t confuse their worldly status with their Christian maturity.

It is important that we know our role as Christians in this world. We must be sober and alert and aware of the process and our level of progress. We are all works in progress, some of us are just farther along in that process than others.

Take a moment to assess where you are. Maybe you are just a baby Christian. Maybe you got saved and never really grew. Maybe you have regressed a bit. Or maybe you are in a leadership role. Wherever you are, do as the Bible says.

If you are following, humble yourself and accept correction and instruction. If you are leading, lead as our passage for today tells you to lead.

Remember, leading is an awesome responsibility (James 3:1). Be sure to follow Jesus’ example as you lead others.

Have a great day!