In 1 Peter 5:1-5, we see Peter set forth two sets of instructions - those for the men who were set up as elders, and those that were written for everyone else. In his sermon covering this passage, Pastor Boyd covered the standards set for elders, and instructed us that every man should aspire to meet those standards. Let's take a moment to contemplate the rest of the instructions.
In verse 5, Peter gives some simple direction to those who aren't elders: "Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' " This has a very simple message, but one that is very difficult to swallow for its target audience.
Peter doesn't specify who exactly falls into the "younger" category, as no numerical age has been given for neither "elders" nor the "younger." However, it would appear that the intended reader is prone to pridefulness, and resistant to external authority. In a culture where we are consistently reminded of our personal freedoms, this could describe several generations.
So how do we respond? Well, there's a few things to note. We first have to recognize that all authority comes from God. This doesn't mean blind obedience, but it does mean humble submission with scripture as the litmus test for right and wrong. Secondly, since our elders will be carefully selected and vetted, and will be working for our good, we are to thank the Lord for these good gifts to the church.
Regardless of whether we feel they are working for our good, Hebrews 13:17 gives this instruction: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."
Take a moment this week and pray for the Elder candidates, as well as those that God is still calling at The District Church.