Scripture

1 Peter 5:1-11

To the Elders and the Flock

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 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; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection

We have an active and large group of retirement-age folks in our church. Some of them are longtime members of First Mansfield, and others are new to our congregation. But what they all have in common is their desire to keep on giving, serving and living life to the full. Many are mentors, teachers, or Bible Study leaders in our church. And most of them are still serving in some way. I love it! Retirement for some means to stop doing all the stuff. But for the God-loving, Christ-following seniors at First Mansfield, it means freedom to serve, and give of themselves. OK, I guess it also means have fun, travel and spend more time with family, but it certainly does not mean stop or slow down. This is how it should be. God gave us numerous examples of people in the Bible who served and mentored into their old age. Read below how one man mentored Chuck Willett for most of his life.   

By Chuck Willett

“Dr. William Arthur (Bill) Ward was the Assistant to the President at Texas Wesleyan when I was a student there.  He was the epitome of an inspirational Christian.  He served as the Director of Methodist Men for the Central Texas Conference and served on several Conference boards, commissions and committees.  God gave him a very special gift for words, and he was famous for his many published inspirational quotations (published daily in the Star-Telegram), books and worldwide speaking engagements.  Dr. Ward not only mentored me when I was a student, but we corresponded and visited until his death in 1995.  He always made me feel very special when he would call or share a new quote via mail, handwritten or typed, during the 32 years I lived and worked in Galveston.

Dr. Ward organized his quotes topically (Achievement, Adversity, Attitudes, Brotherhood, Character, Christ, Courage, Discipleship, etc.).  I often recognize in the things I say or do a reflection of the examples he patterned so well for me.  Our treasured conversations, phone calls, re-reading and often quoting his writings have served as a foundation for much of my faith, actions, deeds, positive attitudes and outlook on life. Hardly a day goes by when I do not think about my mentor, Dr. Ward!”

This is why we do life together, friends. We are meant to help each other along, be examples for each other. And as we gain in wisdom and experience, we are meant to pass on our life lessons to the next generation. We are meant to “watch over our flock” not because we have to, but because we are “willing.” May we be a church who has lots of servants, mentors and willing shepherds.  

Prayer

Creator God, Thank you for creating me in your image. Remind me of that when I doubt myself, hide myself from others, and put on my “mask.” Help me find a few people who will let me be authentic and real. Let me be the same for others. Help me create a church that provides respite from the world and loves others as they are. Thank you for a community of faith and a place to worship you and be my true self. Guide me to see your image in others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.