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Long Term Benefits

1 Peter 5:4
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (NIV)

Peter has just told church leaders not to serve with reluctance, or be greedy for money or power (1 Peter 5:2-3). Such behaviour is the way of the world, inspired by Satan's lies and is unprofitable to God's kingdom. Instead, 1 Peter 5:1 says that suffering is the inevitable pattern for Christ-like leadership; yet there is a wonderful reward, a share in the glory of God.
 
However closely we seek to follow Jesus, the Bible recognises that devotion and duty alone will not sustain the leader who is weary or staggering under the pain of unjust suffering. We also need the assurance that the Lord sees everything and knows how to reward His faithful servants. Peter started his letter with the promise of an unfading inheritance reserved for those who stay true to Christ (1 Peter 1:3-9), and now he reminds the church leaders that they have an unfading crown of glory awaiting them.
 
The Lord knows how much leaders need that encouragement. They suffer in many different ways and may often be tempted to retreat to the side-lines of ministry (or even leave the field of battle): this word is for them. Keep on pressing on! That was also Paul's testimony and exhortation (Philippians 3:12-14). Every church member should also take special care to encourage their leaders rather than criticise. If God is preparing a crown for them, surely they are worthy of respect. It was the same for Jesus, but the cross always comes before the crown; and it will be so for us too. But the great news is that the Chief Shepherd is coming, and will award His crowns. With such certainty, don't give up ... but press on to receive His reward!
 

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You for every encouragement that You give to me, and to the leaders of my local church, to press on - in the certain hope of sharing in Your glory. Thank You for knowing how much I need the incentive of Your Word to sustain me; to keep me from falling away, or dodging my responsibility of serving You. Help me to look beyond the trials and pain which come because I am faithful to You, as I eagerly anticipate the return of Jesus. For His Name's sake. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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