I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it's like to be a leader, in on Christ's sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here's my concern: that you care for God's flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.
-1 Peter 5:1-3 (The Message)
If you are passionate about education, you will have a special concern for teachers. If you are passionate about your country, you will have a special concern for politicians, and the political process. If you are passionate about a business, you will have a special concern for the board and top executives within that particular industry.
If you are passionate about the church, you will have a special concern for church leaders.
Our leaders do not have an easy calling. "In on Christ's sufferings," Peter writes, "as well as the coming glory."
For every joy and jamboree, every birth, baptism, wedding, confession, act of repentence and reconciliation, every compassionate word spoken and loving good deed done, there are wounds inflicted, invective spewed, relationships shattered, discord sown, aspirations abandoned. The life of the congregation reflects the highs and lows of life. The church leader who is truly like Jesus rejoices atop the mountain and mourns with those in the valley, offering a quiet assurance that simply says, "I'm here with you, and so is the Lord."
If you are a church leader, take comfort in Peter's words--he expressed concern for you long before you realized God's call upon your life. Do what you do out of a desire to please God. Care for the people. Do nothing for selfish gain. Lead through service, rather than brute strength. Share the sufferings. Anticipate the glory.
If you are not a church leader, think of those who are. Offer a word of encouragement. Say thanks. Share in carrying the burdens. Don't know how? Ask. Pray. Build up, don't tear down. Join in the mission. Live the life, don't just talk about it. Ask Jesus to lead the way.
Precious Savior, you are my perfect shepherd, my rescuer and my strength. Give me the grace I need for today, to do the work I am called to do, to fill the role I am called to fill, to be the presence of Christ for others. May I rejoice where others rejoice, and mourn where others mourn, and all the while, point to and embody your very real presence among us. In Jesus' name, Amen.