God Moving At Maranatha
Feed My Sheep
You have probably seen the bulletin announcements asking for elder and deacon nominations. We are in the process of identifying new people to take the place of our retiring office bearers. I don’t know if this sounds odd to you, but I feel a deep tenderness about this process.
This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I thought getting new elders and deacons was just a mundane part of church life. After all, every church needs leaders, and someone has to do the job. However, my attitude changed very suddenly one week many years ago while I was preparing a message on 1 Peter 5:1-4—a passage in which Peter exhorts elders to perform their role gently, unselfishly, and devotedly.
Because of my impoverished attitude toward elders and deacons, I wasn’t finding much in the text to preach about. I was getting very anxious as the deadline for writing my sermon approached, and anxiety eventually gave way to desperate pleading to God for help.
Then, in the course of my praying, God suddenly unfolded a panorama before me: I saw Peter betraying Jesus. I saw him becoming a wreck of guilt and shame. Then I saw Jesus on the shore of the Lake of Galilee after His resurrection asking Peter, once for each of his three denials: “Peter, do you love me?”. Jesus was doing soul-surgery on Peter. He was gently addressing his cowardice and betrayal as a way of reinstating him as an apostle. Each time Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” and received Peter’s “Yes,” He spoke an instruction: “Feed my sheep.”
I came to realize that it was out of that experience of unspeakable love, that Peter wrote: “I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…tend the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:1-2). Jesus opened my eyes to see that faithful elders and deacons are His gift us. Having died for us, he now lovingly provides elders and deacons to care for us until His return.
Jesus has sustained the church in this way for the past 2000 years, and He is doing so now at Maranatha. In the quiet, behind the scenes process of identifying our future elders and deacons, Jesus is loving us.
Pray for your current elders and deacons. Pray for those people considering office. Pray also about whether Jesus might be calling you to be an elder or a deacon, either now or in the future. –Pastor Tom