1 Peter 5 (New Living Translation)
Advice for Elders and Young Men
1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
5 In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for
“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”
John 13:1-5 (New International Version)
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day, by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. –1 Peter 5:7
The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution. They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death. But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers. He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love.
Casing our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God! We don’t like turning over the responsibility of our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father.
Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you. Will you let Him?
Psalm 37:5 (English Standard Version)
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
from the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Goodman Brown replied, “We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness.”
“Wickedness or not,” said the traveller with the twisted staff, “I have a very general acquaintance here in New England. The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me; the selectmen of divers towns make me their chairman; and a majority of the Great and General Court are firm supporters of my interest. The governor and I, too–But these are state secrets.”
“Can this be so?” cried Goodman Brown, with a stare of amazement at his undisturbed companion.
9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.
Psalm 40:1-3 (New International Version)
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Peter says God will “place you on a firm foundation.” Organist Diane Bish and the Chancel Choir of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church perform this stirring arrangement of “How Firm a Foundation” by Bish.
How Firm a Foundation
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.
When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply;
The flame shall not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume, and your gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
–London pastor John Rippon, 1787
Peter’s Final Greetings
12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with Christian love.
Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
basin and towel stained glass from Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, Virginia. http://www.vbc-va.org/images/template/discipleship_window_side.jpg
Peter signature. http://www.e-mailmarketing.com.au/profitune/Peter_Signature.gif