And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 Peter 5:4
When we read only what I Peter 5:4 says, we might be very happy to see that a glorious reward awaits us when the Lord returns. It is a beautiful promise to hear this: And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Now who will receive this crown? The Bible says that God will give the unfading crown of glory to those who bring His Word to others. That could lead us to think that then the pastors already have it guaranteed. Without taking it so lightly, it is necessary to meditate in detail the whole context of 1 Peter 5:4.
To do this, let us see what the previous verses say, 1 Peter 5:1-3, The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
The sheep are of the Lord, not ours. He puts them under our care, not that we take advantage of them. I will tell how God made me understand that great truth. By the end of 2005, I had sold my house and bought another, which was twice as far from the church as I was congregating. In my old house, I was a leader of a very successful cell group. For two years a new generation of disciples with leadership capacity had been raised in that group. My biggest concern was that my new home would be far away at all.
That’s when the question came out of my mouth, what am I going to do with my group? The answer of God did not wait. I felt a voice inside me saying: “Your group? It’s not your group, the sheep are mine, not yours.” At that moment I realized the terrible recklessness of my words. I understood that this cell group was not my possession but God had put those people in my care for a while and that time was over. My house had been bought by another leader of the church and I gave the group to him.
In my new house, I started the task of starting a new cell group from scratch. To obey God brought the blessing that in a very short time, the new group surpassed in size and quality the first one. I was with them until God moved me from the church where I was to new responsibilities. As I had learned the lesson the first time. At no time did I think to take the sheep with me. I just said goodbye to all the members of the group and left them in the hands of their new leader.
Peter is very clear in the requirement that we must fulfill in order to reach the unfading crown of glory: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. Let us remember that our mission is to serve, not to serve us. Our greatest reward is not material but the unfading crown of glory that the chief Shepherd will give us. God bless you.