Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over [a]those allotted to your charge, but [b]proving to be examples to the flock.1 Peter 5:1-4, NASB
Shepherds are needed for two primary reasons. The first is to feed the sheep (1 Peter 5:2). Sheep have the bad habit of eating harmful weeds as well as grass. A shepherd is needed to ensure that the sheep have good grass to eat so they do not become sick and malnourished.
The second reason a shepherd is needed is to protect the sheep from wolves:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you [q]overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He [r]purchased [s]with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.Acts 20:28-30, NASB
Sheep are careless by nature and are not aware of impending danger.
1 Peter 5:1-4 provides a list of exhortations for shepherds.
Let’s take a look at 1 Peter 5:2:
shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;NASB
“Shepherd the flock of God”
A shepherd is able to teach the flock of God and protect them from danger.
“Not for sordid gain”
A shepherd does not use his position of power to rob people of wealth as the false teachers do. Financial affluence is not the motivation of a shepherd.
“The flock of God”
A shepherd understands that they are caring for God’s flock and not their own.
“Not lording it over”
A shepherd does not use his position and authority to manipulate or take advantage of the sheep. A shepherd is instead charged to lead by example.
What are some characteristics of sheep?
- Sheep have little sense of direction and get lost easily.
- Sheep get dirty from the lanolin in their wool and can’t clean themselves.
- Sheep are prone to follow and are easily led astray.
- Sheep tire easily and have little motivation to endure hardship.
- Sheep can’t smell water and are unable to find streams by themselves.
Likewise, a true shepherd of God knows that there are sheep to be cared for in His flock that are dirty, led astray easily, are easily discouraged and can’t find water alone.
We hope and pray that you are a member of a healthy, Biblical church that takes Godly shepherding seriously, caring for the flock of God.
If you need help finding a sound and Biblical church home in your area with solid elders/pastors, send us a an email. We would love to point you in the right direction where you can find a safe pasture, dear sheep of God!