SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP (2)
The first scriptural truth we observe is that spiritual leadership involves lowly service, not legal power. This truth raises a caution -- Do not confuse spiritual leadership with political position. Jesus leaves no room for confusion on this point (Mark 10:42-45). Secular rulers "lord it over" their subjects and "exercise authority" over them. "But it shall not be so among you," Jesus continues. Instead, "whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all." This is the pattern set by Jesus himself, the "Son of Man," who "came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Peter applies the same truth when instructing spiritual leaders among his churches (1 Peter 5:1-5). He exhorts senior leaders ("the elders among you") to "shepherd the flock of God that is among you." They will be "exercising oversight," but, if they obey the apostolic instruction, "not domineering over" those in their charge, but "being examples to the flock." Spiritual leadership is moral in nature and it is done primarily by example and by teaching.
It is entirely possible that these "elders" are not office-holders at all, but rather senior Christians who are highly-respected for their lives of faith and service. As Peter continues his encouragement, he uses the word "elders" in a relative sense regarding age and experience. "Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders." Believers of every age are told to "clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
Copyright 2008 by Edward Fudge. You are encouraged to share this gracEmail freely, widely and in its entirety (including this final paragraph).