To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Peter appeals to the elders as a fellow elder. He speaks to the leaders as a fellow leader. He has the same responsibility, the same hazards, the same joys and the same rewards as others who serve as elders, overseers or shepherds of God’s people. He mentions the reward of serving and uses the glory that will one day be ours as bookends to his encouragement. Peter is “one who also will share in the glory to be revealed” (vs 1). There are glorious days coming when those who serve Jesus with the right heart and in the right way will be rewarded. “… you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (vs. 4). The reward is an eternal one. This is one place where eternal rewards are used as motivation – and it is right. There’s no manipulation here. Most everyone benefits from external motivation. We’d like to think that elders/overseers would serve forever and a day without the need for such reward. That they would be altruistic in their service for Christ – and most days they are! I have yet to meet a person serving Christ whose first question is “What’s in it for me? What’s the reward?” Servants serve out of love for Christ and His people and with a huge sense of privilege and gratitude. They are altruistic, which makes Peter’s mention of reward an encouraging message. The promise of glory becomes a source for more gratitude and worship as hearts continue to serve and lead in humility.
It is encouraging to know that God knows and sees all things. He is not unaware with the leadership struggles I face. He will lead me in these days; encourage me for what He’s called me to and He will reward faithful service. Reward is not why I serve, but it is encouraging! It is motivating to keep on even during difficult times.
Father, thank You for the hope of Heaven and the glory that will be revealed when I see Jesus face to face. Thank You for encouraging me and supplying all I need for life and ministry.