“Be 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”
(1 Peter 5:2)
Each one of us is, to a greater or lesser extent, called to act as a Christian shepherd to someone else, or to a group. Jesus as the Good Shepherd gives us the model of someone who knows, leads, calls, loves, searches for and feeds His sheep – and who even lays down His life for them.
Peter emphasises for us two particularl qualities of a ‘good shepherd.’
Firstly, it must be voluntary. An unwilling shepherd will never be truly effective. His or her labour will be a burden instead of something they undertake happily and that attitude will colour their ‘work’ and communicate itself to others.
Secondly, it must not be seen as a way of accumulating wealth. The ministry of the Gospel is not a product that we market and sell but something we seek to share as freely as we received it.
Then also our whole attitude in ministry must be one of gracious humility. Like Jesus we are called to serve and not to be served. Our ministry is to be a life-giving, life-changing and life-enhancing blessing to others with the glory attaching to God and not to ourselves. As the prayer says it ‘my ministries are God’s mercies.’
Keep asking God to pour out His love into your heart by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given you (Romans 5:5)
Father God, please fill me continuously with Your love and help me to release that love towards others freely and without seeking any reward. Amen.