Day 11

About the Elders

from the 1 & 2 Peter reading plan


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.

Post Comments (35)

35 thoughts on "About the Elders"

  1. Steph C says:

    “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). How different would my relationships be if humility governed my conversations and interactions! If I thought of others as better than myself in all I said and did! Oh Father, give me grace to do just this.

  2. Taylor MarieMay says:

    Ah! I just want to see if anyone feels the same as I do here. But I feel like the last couple posts have severely watered dow the kind of suffering Peter was talking about. As much as these things mentioned are, at times, suffering I fear we are missing the point of what these believers truly had to endure. It can send the message that suffering is as palatable as a simple surrender of simple comforts. Which is true in a sense but really not at all what Peter is saying here.

    The suffering he is talking about is that of Christ. It’s suffering for the sake of his name. Jail time, ridicule, unfairness. I think as women of Christ we need to be prepared for this kind of suffering. And we need to be prepared to encourage those along side us who are also suffering ad God’s shepherds.

  3. Linda Ryan says:

    I’m new here but the readings today sure do apply here in my little community. There are some who have done some pretty nasty public things to myself and a few others thinking that they are on the moral high ground for doing what they do and have done but they aren’t. The group of us keep forging ahead with our lives and haven’t and will not retaliate….”humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God…..” myself, I’ve forgiven one person over and over again (I have to drive by this persons house leaving and coming home). It doesn’t mean the hurt necessarily goes away immediately but in my heart I have forgiven and continue to do so and will probably forgive over and over again until I finally get to move away from here. God put us in this neighborhood for a reason 13 years ago. It’s never been 100% clear as to why but we’re here until we finally sell so I’ll continue to forgive and live my life according Tobago’s will.

  4. Kristen says:

    I am too guilty of pride. God resists the proud. I’m guilty of being easily offended, and become defensive and will say things about that person out loud or to others. That is so wrong. I really need to consider others, and put on humility. I said things today that I shouldn’t have. My teenage daughter asked me a few days ago, why I get so easily offended. Wow! I need to pray and seek Him. It’s time for change that He can accomplish. I’m very sorry as reflect on this!

  5. Natasha R says:

    Oh my, this hits the spot! There is so much encouragement and conviction in this devotional. It seems that pride is the root cause of many of my flaws. A good dose of humility will help me be both a good follower and a good leader. It will also help me handle tough situations with grace. Thank you SRT for today’s devotional, and sisters for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Rhonni_l S says:

    Praying for you, & your mum. Your loyalty & commitment over such a long period demonstrates Gods love. Bless you xxx

  7. Helena Rose says:

    Oh I love this, how applicable. And a nice big glass of conviction.

  8. Chris Swan says:

    Yesterday was hard. We had an abortion determined young girl. And a friend with her doing most of the talking. I called on my prayer warriors last night— now I’m asking all of you—- Lord, soften this 19 yr old young lady’s heart. She is very hard hearted— 14 week. Showed no emotion during sonogram.

    1. Helena Rose says:

      Praying praying praying!!

    2. Kelli Paskey says:

      Praying for God to soften not only her heart, but also those she confides in.

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