1 Peter 5:1-5
1 “Therefore, I urge elders among you, as your fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and one who is also a fellow partaker of the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not with greed but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as domineering over those assigned to your care, but by proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”
Witness of the sufferings of Christ: Peter likely has in mind his own personal observation of Christ’s suffering on the cross though he could be referring to the suffering present in the church.
Partaker of the glory to be revealed: In contrast to the suffering existent in this life, there is a glory of which all Christians partake. This glory is our salvation in Christ. Salvation was Peter’s encouragement during the persecution he was enduring, and he wanted the church to find the same joy in the midst of suffering. This glory is possessed by the Christian in this life but will be revealed fully in Heaven.
Shepherd the flock among you: Elders are to shepherd the flock of God. Notice that Peter sees the elders as a team not a solo act. No single individual can tend to the church. All elders must serve not because of pressure but out of pure willingness. This principle can be applied to any ministerial position. God is not strongarming us to serve but rather wants us to do so voluntarily. Motivation matters. We should never do anything in church that we are not eager to do. There is no place to “have to” do something in the kingdom. This is a law mentality. Instead, we are to wait on the Lord to motivate us to serve in whatever role we do in the church.
Crown of glory: Peter is not referring to a specific reward earned by elders. The crown of glory is the full revelation of our salvation in Christ, and the glory referred to by Peter a few verses earlier (5:1). Every believer receives this crown.
Clothe yourselves with humility: Peter encourages an attitude of humility to be expressed by believers. This humility is not the result of trying harder to live righteously or to follow religious regulations but rather arises as we understand the grace of God in Christ.