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May 15 | 1 Peter 5:1-7


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Elders/Small Groups

by David Thompson


In the Lutheran Church, we don't have an elected position called "elder." We have a church council with a number of good people on it, but it is my understanding that they do not have to overtly counsel anyone, but they are still considered the spiritual /business leaders of the church. The position of elder in my experience had a great deal to do with being there for the individual parishioners. They certainly had a presence on the church board, but primarily the role was specifically spiritual. They were examples of people of exemplary Christian character and were believed, by me anyways, to have their spiritual walk together. I found myself always comparing myself with the head usher (a big mistake).


When I had a breakthrough in my spiritual walk (like taking a step on the spiritual ladder), it seemed that he would move up two steps. Like the passage says, he didn't lord it over me, but he was always dedicated to his Bible reading, prayer life and shepherding ministry. His name was Jesse and he had seen a lot in his life. He served in Vietnam and at one religious retreat, we roomed together and we sat up through the night talking. He shared a lot about his childhood, his experiences in Vietnam (they were hair raising) and also his experience with the Lord. I respected him greatly before hearing his story but I respected him even more after hearing all the rest.


In today's church (at least our church), this kind of closeness will likely only be attained by being a member of a "small group." I know I feel quite close to the eleven guys in my group.

We have some great leaders in our church, but getting to the "gut" level with them is hard due to our massiveness. Like the passage states, "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." It goes on to say in verse 5, "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders."


We have older members of our small group (some just older in their Christian walks) and some that are older by years. We also have some younger. The small-group is a perfect setting to fulfill the recommendations of this passage. Unless you have the good fortune of living with one of the pastors as I do or you are best friends with one of the more mature leaders, then the small group is the second best option. Through our great examples in the church, help them to show us that we can "cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."


PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for your words of wisdom as seen in 1 Peter 5. Help us to support one another in the ways of the elder you outline there. We have a great institution in our church called the small-group that can serve in most every way as your recommendations showed. Help us to be a "beacon of light on a hill" for others to follow to your family. Amen!






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