In his final words of his letter Peter leaves some advice for the leaders of the church (5:1-4), the youth of the church (5:5a), and the church in general (5:5b-11). The instruction to the elders (spiritual leaders) dealt with the way they conducted their leadership among the church. Peter writes, “Shepherd [teach] the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion [duty] but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd [Jesus Christ] appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (5:2-4). In brief, Peter commands the elders to willingly accomplish their ministry while not seeking financial gain or practicing harsh leadership methods through manipulating or intimidating. Those who lead well are seeking to please God and will one day be recognized when God judges our works on earth (5:4). Next Peter addresses the youth in the church instructing them to “submit yourselves to your elders” (5:5). This simply implies that those who are under spiritual leadership within the church should honor and respect their leaders with a right heart attitude. Lastly, Peter commands that every church member be characterized by humility which carries the idea of serving one another without selfishness. Humility is thinking more highly of others than yourself knowing that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…that He may exalt you in due time” (5:5b-6). At the conclusion of his letter Peter returns to his theme of suffering. He tells believers to allow God to handle all their cares and concerns because He cares about them (5:7). He also reminds them that the devil will try to discourage them so they should “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (5:8). Peter’s readers could have confidence that their sufferings would bring strength to their faith and stability to their relationship with God (5:10-11). The application is clear to those of us who read this letter hundreds of years later – don’t quit when times are hard. Keep the faith knowing there is hope in Jesus Christ, who will make all things right one day. No matter what hardship you face, know that God will provide the strength to handle it and bring confidence to your faith in Him.
Dear God, help me to trust You during trials knowing that You are always in control. May I see Your goodness and grace through each experience.