About the Elders
Open Your Bible
1 Peter 5:1-7, Proverbs 3:27-35, 1 Timothy 3:1-13
BY Guest Writer
I’m a girl very much in love with creature comforts like yoga pants, guacamole, and on-demand TV. I’d rather not be uncomfortable, much less suffer. I mean, I’m not alone in this, right? While we may not suffer isolation or oppression like the readers of Peter’s letter, we all have places of hardship and difficulty.
Yes, despite my affection for stretchy pants and binge-worthy programming, life for me has sticky places. Places that reveal my selfish heart and prickly pride. I have relationships that are tense and less than loving. There are situations that bring me a ton of stress and, to a mild degree, “suffering.” But tucked here in 1 Peter 5 is a tiny, often overlooked admonition that might help soften the blow of those situations.
Peter is encouraging church leaders, called elders, to shepherd and serve the people of God well. Why would Peter interrupt his commentary on suffering and Christian living in an ungodly culture to talk to church leadership? It seems Peter knew that their wise counsel and tender care would be critical in helping God’s people persevere.
But I wonder if Peter was also speaking to this group of men because he knew they would experience their own unique brand of suffering because of their call to shepherd God’s flock? Are we surprised? Living in relationship with Christ-followers is hard and messy because living in any relationship is hard and messy. We sometimes glamorize or expect more from our brothers and sisters in Christ, but friend, though Jesus is King of my heart, I can still be super selfish, prideful, and easily frustrated. How about you?
I don’t want to cause anyone undue suffering, especially not someone who is sacrificially serving the body of Christ. Our leaders are called, and I think equipped, to demonstrate grace and humility toward the people of God. But look at what Peter says to you and me: “All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). We can all partner together to make the work of living together as Christ-followers a bit easier by putting on humility.
When we choose to believe the best about the girl whose short reply kind of hurt our feelings, we put on humility. When we extend grace to the friend who blew us off (again), we put on humility. When we focus on our leaders’ strengths rather than berating them for their weaknesses, we put on humility. When we gladly serve, even as others do less than their fair share, we put on humility.
This call rings loudly within the context of Christian community, but think about the places in your life where you are currently suffering. Could Peter’s charge to be clothed with humility let you stretch in grace, persevere in patience, or extend forgiveness? Perhaps none of our hard places will feel as comfortable as our yoga pants, but might humility be the thing that makes us more comfortable in those less than comfortable circumstances?
Whitney Capps is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her first book, Sick of Me (B&H Publishers) and bible study, We Over Me (LifeWay) both release in March 2019. Whitney is the founder of Simple Seminary, a place for the everyday gal to learn theology. She and her husband, Chad, are raising their four boys just outside Atlanta, Ga. You can connect with her at whitneycapps.com or on Instagram, @whitneycapps.