This Week’s Reading: 1 Peter 5
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” – 1 Peter 5:2-3
It’s midnight, and the weighing pressures of life have been pounding at my door for the last few months. Sometimes I feel like I can never get ahead. I start one thing, finish it and another obligation immediately reveals itself. I pursue goals in hopes of being the best version of myself and being an example to those who come after me. But these goals can often cause me to lose focus on God’s voice as He speaks subtly to me throughout the day. In 1 Peter 5:2-3, Peter speaks to the elders about being good shepherds and watching over God’s flock. At first glance, I thought, Okay, but I’m not going to be a preacher or a priest; therefore, this doesn’t pertain to me.
It’s true, I’m probably not going to be one of these. And you may not either. But as God’s ambassadors, what Peter is saying is still key for us. He says we should watch over them, not because it is an obligation, but because we are willing and eager to serve. I honestly could not remember the last time I was eager to serve in my day-to-day life for more than a split second. See, often we find ourselves in ruts because we do so many things without thinking — they become automatic and impersonal. That isn’t how we are to live.
God calls us to serve and to be joyous in our works because every step we take has a very strong purpose and potential impact on the world. Just because you aren’t a shepherd, priest, or elder does not mean you can’t be a living example and use every day to care for those around you with passion and commitment.
I’m guilty of focusing too much on my appearance, being a slave to my anxieties and not making time for my family. I think we all have these struggles in our lives, especially as young adults. I find myself begging for one more hour just to relax, hang out or even just sleep. We keep life fast-paced and our schedules packed until we are exhausted and almost delirious. It’s hard, and we lose focus quickly, but Peter says we are called to sober in our minds and to cast our anxieties on God (1 Peter 5:7).
I can remember a time when I was so stressed I was frozen, but I got my Bible out and began to pray. Immediately, my anxiety diminished, and I was able to complete my work because I cast my struggles onto Him.
Peter also gives advice to those who are younger and asks them to submit themselves and live with humility (1 Peter 5:5-6). In a beautiful way, we have it in us to put others before ourselves and to cherish the simple things God has gifted us in this short life.
It’s simple, but it’s important enough for Peter to mention this to us. I think he knew how easy it is for people, young and old, to forget and become discouraged.
We are called to respect, to be joyful, to be peaceful and most importantly, to love. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.