Life has a way of knocking you down a peg. Lt. Gary Malcolmson was stationed on a destroyer in Long Beach, Calif., and his wife’s parents came to visit. They arranged to take them to a waterfront restaurant for dinner right after he returned from an official Navy function, still dressed in his crisp white uniform, complete with colorful rows of ribbons on his chest and black shoulder boards displaying gold stripes. While waiting for their table, Gary stood outside by the main entrance with his father-in-law, a World War II veteran, and began explaining the
responsibilities of a Navy officer.
Just then, an attractive woman got out of her car and walked toward them. “Here,” she said, handing Gary her car keys, “and be careful not to scratch my car when you park it.” (Contributed to “Humor In Uniform” in Reader’s Digest)
Today’s passage shows how Peter was willing to knock himself down a peg or two. “Fellow elder!” This seems odd to me coming from Peter… the loud, brash, foot in the mouth, braggart of the Gospels. The one who once grandstanded by saying: “Though every one else forsake you (I’m sure he made a sweeping gesture with this point) I will never forsake you.” But he did. And the Disciple (formerly known as Arrogant) is now a humble “fellow elder”. He calls himself here a “Sympresbyteros”… putting himself on the same level as the pastors he is writing to. Displaying great humility as a shepherd just trying to care for sheep like any other farm hand.
One person put it: “This is Pavorotti joining the barber shop quartet.”
But a good leader never sees himself as above those he is leading. He is called to labor alongside them… parking a few cars if that is what is required… and being extra careful not to scratch them.