|1 Peter 5 |
1 I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:1
2 Feed the flock of God that is among you, serving as an overseer, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [money], but readily;2 [Paul also wrote of those who preached for filthy lucre: "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially of the circumcision whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things they ought not to teach for filthy lucre's sake". Titus 1:10-11.]
3 Not lording it over God's heritage,3 but being examples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.
5 Likewise, you [spiritually] younger people, submit yourselves to the elder.4 All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility, "for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble."
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that in due time he may exalt you,
7 Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.
8 Be sober and vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. [See Footnote 4 of Genesis 3 for more on the devil's devouring.]
9 Resist him, standing fast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by all your brothers in the world. [All who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12.]
10 But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 I have written briefly by Silvanus, whom I regard as our faithful brother, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elect together with you, salutes you and so does my son Mark.
14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be with you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
1 So Peter is testifying that he is a partaker of the divine nature. He is a partaker of the glory, which is yet to be revealed to them.
2 Feed the flock, what? The Word of God, which they are taught by the Spirit, which they are authorized to teach by the Spirit. But not for filthy lucre. If a preacher is taking a salary from the congregation, he is violating Peter's command: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [money]. 1 Peter 5:2. And Jesus said: a hired hand cares nothing for the sheep. John 10:11-13; and freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give. Mat 10:8. And Paul said: For we are not like so many, who peddle the word of God [for profit]; but with sincerity, as being from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. 2 Cor 2:17. What is my reward then? Truly, that when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel of Christ without charge. 1 Cor 9:18.
Jesus said: And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Luke 10:5-8. So here Jesus says, eat and drink such things as they give, because a worker worthy is hire. This is the wages that Christ allows, gifts, which could include a gift of money of course. But if they ask, and someone complies, it is not a gift; a gift is unsolicited. Neither is taking up a collection or taking a salary receiving a gift. To be a gift, it has to be totally unsolicited.
3 Not lording it over God's heritage. Not as a dictator. Not as one who insists on his own way. Not as one who orders others to do the menial tasks, while he sits in his comforts. Not as one who takes the most important seat, up on the platform, behind a pulpit. Not as one who expects to be addressed with respect as Dr., Pastor, Reverend, Father. But rather as the servant of all. Rather as a humble brother who lovingly shares his teachings from the Holy Sprit. Rather as one who seeks out the lost. Rather as one who firmly, but gently corrects those in error, leaving them room to see their error and repent to be restored.
4 You younger people, submit yourselves to the elder. The spiritual younger is supposed to submit to the spiritual elder, who obviously has more spiritual maturity. You must understand that different people have different measures of the Spirit of Christ, not everyone is equal. There is only one King, and that is Christ for all; but among his subjects, not all have the same gifts, authority, and responsibility. As another great worthy of the Lord, Isaac Penington, said:
And Friends, you that are weak, bless God for the strong; you that have need of a pillar to lean upon, bless God, that has provided pillars in his house; and, in fear and the guidance of his Spirit, make use of these pillars; who are faithful, and have ability from God, in his power and glorious presence with them, to help to sustain his building, even as they had ability from the Lord to gather unto him. He that despises him that is sent, despises Him that sent him; and he that undervalues any gift, office, or work, that God has bestowed upon any person, despises the wisdom and disposal of the Giver. Are all fathers? Have all overcome the enemy? Are all grown up in the life? Are all stars in the firmament of God's power? Has God made all equal? Are there not different states, different degrees, different growths, different places, etc.?
Then, if God has made a difference, and given degrees of life, and gifts different, according to his pleasure; what wisdom and spirit is that, which does not acknowledge this, but would make all equal? Oh my Friends! Fear before the Lord; honor the Lord in his appearances, and in the differences which he has made among the children of men, and among his people. He gave prophets of old, and the rest of the people were not equal with them. He gave evangelists, apostles, pastors, teachers, etc., and the other members of the churches were not equal with them. He has given fathers and elders now, and the babes and young men are not equal with them. Thus it is, in truth, from the Lord; and what is of God in you, will so acknowledge it.
Therefore watch, everyone, to feel and know his own place and service in the body, and to be sensible of the gifts, places, and services of others; that the Lord may be honored in all, and everyone owned and honored in the Lord, and not otherwise.
William Caton, a young Quaker minister, was lamenting over his small stature in Christ, compared to some senior Quaker worthies he had observed, when the Lord gave him this classic understanding:
The Lord showed me how they that had much, had nothing left over; and they that had little, had no lack — just like it was with the Israelites of old. For the brethren who were wise and eminent, who had received much from the Lord, notice there was that much more required of them; so that of all they had, they had nothing over, but what they were to employ in the work and service of God.
Moses faced a rebellion from Dathan and others; the rebels said to Moses and Aaron: You take too much upon yourselves, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you lift up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? Numbers 16:3. This is the classic mistake: to assume that everyone is equal in the Lord. Remember, Miriam and Aaron had already been severely scolded, with Miriam getting leprosy, for challenging Moses. Now the leadership of the tribes was challenging Moses. Their fallacious reasoning was: we are all holy, we are all equal, and the Lord is among us all. Dathan and his associates tried to make themselves equal to Moses and challenged his authority. In reply God opened up the earth and swallowed all of them, all of their possessions, their entire households, and all their supporters with their possessions; plus those who tried to make themselves priests were destroyed by fire from heaven. Num 16:30-35. When the congregation of Israel complained to Moses that he was destroying the children of Israel, God sent a plague on them that killed almost 15,000 of them. Num 16:45-49.
This is the error of presumption: I'm just as much a Christian as George; and the error of envy: who does he (a true leader) think he is, telling us not to sin?