1 Peter 5:2-4—Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Peter is addressing the elders that read the letter to the local church. You will find that the New Testament always addresses elders in a city in the plural. The elders were the overseers of each church. They are to serve willingly, not out of obligation. Shepherding a congregation has many difficulties. It isn’t a job that was readily desired, for it means going above and beyond in service. It means a life that exemplifies the life of Christ. The elders are not chosen for their status in life. Some might come from a low-income level and find the financial support of the believers to be more than they made in their former employment. Usually they end up living on substantially less income. Finances should never be a factor in whether they accept a call or not. From rich or poor backgrounds, elders should serve because God wants them to. An elder’s chief desire should be to please the Lord. The elders are not to throw their weight around in an authoritarian way. In everything, they should be an example to the flock. Even when discipline is necessary, they should do it with love and gentleness. For this life of service and sacrifice, there is a promise to look forward to.
The Chief Shepherd will give the faithful ones a crown of glory that will never fade.