Every leader I know deals with challenges to their leadership just about every day. These challenges come from the world around us, our own fleshly temptations, and the devil who would love to take us down!
With so many forces coming against as leaders, it begs the question, “What does it take to be a Godly leader, or for that matter, a Godly follower?
The Apostle Peter warned of these very dangers in 1 Peter 5. Although Peter was addressing his fellow elders in the church, his warnings are equally valid for us as leaders in the workplace.
Peter began by admonishing leaders to be like shepherds caring for God’s flock. Being a shepherd doesn’t mean much to most of us in the business world, but it was perfectly clear to the people Peter was addressing. They all knew what the responsibilities of a shepherd entailed.
According to Psalm 23, there are five primary responsibilities of a shepherd,
1) to lead (Psalms 23:2),
2) to provide spiritual guidance and feeding (Psalm 23:3),
3) to offer comfort (Psalm 23:4),
4) to strengthen (Psalm 23:4), and
5) to correct (Psalm 23:5).
Based on the command to be a shepherd, leaders have a lot of big responsibilities! We are to lead, and that means we are out front making decisions based on what is best for the flock. We are to be spiritual leaders that feed the flock. We are to offer comfort when and where needed, and we are to strengthen the flock. And finally, when necessary we to are correct the flock.
Next, Peter said leaders must have the right attitude about leading. We should lead, he said, not because we have to but because we are eager to serve the flock. We should not seek to lead for money or to have power over others.
Peter’s admonition about Christian leaders having the right attitude stands in stark contrast to the secular worldview in which leaders seek the position for the monetary rewards and for the power that comes with leadership.
Christians are to stand apart as leaders by having the attitude of a shepherd caring for their flock.
Be an Example
Third, Peter said Christian leaders are to be an example to those we lead. The example for a Christian leader is Jesus Christ, the chief shepherd. Just as Jesus is an example for Christian leaders, Christian leaders are to be an example to their flocks.
Advice for Everyone
Peter closed out his letter with instructions for everyone, leaders, and followers.
1) Be submissive to your leaders. Peter’s point about being submissive to leaders is directed to followers, but it’s important to note that everyone follows a leader. Everyone has a boss, and everyone is ultimately accountable to God.
2) Be humble toward one another. Both leaders and followers need to be humble toward one another, because as Peter reminds them, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34).
3) Be Self-controlled and alert. Every Christian needs to be self-controlled in their own behavior. We also need to recognize that the devil is real, like a roaring lion seeking to devour those who stand for Christ. Therefore, we must remain on alert and resist the temptations of the devil.
4) Cast your cares on God. Peter reminds both leaders and followers to cast all our cares on God because He cares for us. Whatever trials, tribulations, or suffering we endure in this world are nothing compared to God’s grace and mercy.
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled with any of the five elements of being a shepherd leader? Have you been a follower under a leader who was a poor example?
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Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership