Projecting Hope on the Walls

1 Peter 5:1

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

This week at our church’s “Camp in the Valley” (a sports camp for kids.)  The boys and girls raised close to $400 for a group called “Be Joyful.”  (www.bejoyfulinhope.org)  Their ministry is to orphans in the Ukraine, providing summer camps and also flying several of them to Alabama for 6 weeks…   to live with the couple that founded the ministry. 

They do this to allow them to experience what living in a home feels like… and also to provide them with something they most need in their situation:  Hope.

In today’s verse, Peter presents a third characteristic of a being a good shepherd.  He is a “fellow elder.”  This puts him in a position of humble service.   He is “a witness of Christ’s sufferings.”  This puts him in a position of authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  And now he adds:  “and one who will also share in the glory to be revealed.”  This puts him in the position of encourager.  He is a projector of hope.

For leaders can sometimes be humble and authoritative and yet be… downright uninspiring.  An effective leader has to communicate hope.  William Willimon says it well:  ‘People are ripe for a voice that gives them something significant worth living and dying for.’  

Staff member Rick Marshall recalls the spring of 1991 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Billy [Graham] had been visiting with  dignitaries, and Marshall came to escort him to preach.  He found him completely exhausted.   “Dr. Graham, it is time to take the stage,” Marshall said.

        “I can’t do it.  I’m so tired.”

        Marshall looked for a smile, thinking he was kidding.  He wasn’t—he was physically spent.

        The young associate sat down beside him  and they prayed together.  Marshall, who,  as crusade director was in charge of the meetings, felt desperate.  This  mission is finished before it begins, he thought. 

        Somehow, Billy got to his feet and slowly made his way to the stage.  Yet when he took the pulpit, Marshall recalls, “I could not believe the strength of the man’s voice and the ability God gave him that evening.”

Marshall remembered:   “Much of that amazing resiliency is due to his choice of scripts and his determination to lead with optimism and hope.”

Does that mean we can never get discouraged?  No.  It means we never give in to despair.  We need to remember the message of hope we are to embody.  If we are moping about and we are in a position of leadership… we need to take a second look at where we are leading people. 

Peter writes here to a group of discouraged, persecuted believers that are experiencing intense suffering.  And yet this letter is among the most encouraging in the NT.  Peter, who was heading for martyrdom himself, says:  we may share suffering now, but we will one day share glory.

Good leaders focus on the positives of what will be.  We may feel boxed in… having few windows to let the light in.  But good leaders know how to project hope on the walls.

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Living Out Your Calling

1 Peter 5:1

My 4 year old son Andrew stood in the doorway.  He was wearing my suit coat with a tie wrapped around his neck.  I said:  “So you want to be a preacher, huh?”

“Yep,” he said, “Either that or a pro-wrestler.”

It is an awesome thing to discover one’s calling.   Too many today share the problem of Matt Damon’s character in the movie “The Bourne Identity”:  “I don’t know who I am or where I’m going.”

Peter finally had settled that issue.  He was “…a witness of Christ’s sufferings…”  This is not an insignificant designation.  The New Concise Bible Dictionary refers to an Apostle as:  “those called by God and witnesses to the resurrection.”  To say that he was “a witness of Christ’s sufferings” is to say that he is an apostle… and therefore has the right to lead them.  So as a Fellow Shepherd, Peter speaks to them
with shared experience.  As a witness of Christ, he speaks to them with endowed authority.

We each have our calling from God as well.  If it takes us to a leadership type of role… we need to speak from that position.   If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. – 1 Peter 4:11

Don’t be afraid to take up the role of Leader if God has places you there.  Lead from the authority given by God.  Teach from the authority given by God.  Encourage from the authority granted to you by the Almighty.   Live your Spiritual Gift with your endowed authority.

The world needs more people living out their calling… whether that is to be a preacher… or a pro-wrestler.