When I read this - I was thinking that leadership and shepherding have a lot in common. They really go hand in hand. Here are some great guidelines for those of us (that is all of us!) that are leading or shepherding others.
1:2 Pray for those the Lord has given you consistently and fervently.
1:3 Appreciate what the Lord is doing in their lives.
work of faith ~ labor of love ~
steadfastness of hope in the Lord
1:4 Remember that they are beloved by God - His choice. There is something about the word beloved that is just another level beyond loved when I think about how the Lord feels about each one of us! Love that.
1:5 Recognize that the power for your teaching, your influence and the power for change is ALL the power of the Holy Spirit (in other words, it is not about your own power - praise the Lord!)
1:6 - Remember that it won't be easy - they will receive the Word with tribulation and yet with JOY
1:7 Their lives will be an example to others!
1:8 God's Word will "sound forth" from them - I like to say that it will bubble up! As they fill their lives with His Word - it will bubble up in the way they speak, think and respond to others.
1:9 They will "turn from idols" to serve the Living and True God (I really loved this because I am leading a study right now about turning from the idols in our lives and making room for Jesus to reign in our hearts!)
This continues in Chapter 2 with some good words for leaders, shepherds and those who influence (Yeah - that is everyone!)
2:4 As a leader - you have been approved by God - entrusted with the gospel- your goal is to please God, not men for God will examine your heart. Wow - that is a huge responsibility and a huge blessing all in one!
2:5-7 Characteristics of a leader are given here:
lead with gentleness
exhibit loving concern
2:8 This is the heart of ministry - I so love this!
. . . to impart to you not only the gospel, but also our
own lives, because you have become very dear to us.
If you think that leading ends when you walk out of a study or a classroom - you will most likely be very surprised. You will be imparting your very life for others.
2:12 Our hope and prayer as leaders
that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory
For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation?
Is it not even you, in the presence of
our Lord Jesus at His coming?
3:8 Is this your heart as a leader?
But now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
Being a leader in any capacity - being an influence in your family, among your friends, in your workplace - these are all positions of great joy and great responsibility. Sometimes it is hard - sometimes it is tiring - sometimes it is discouraging. These verses were such an encouragement to me and really a call back to what it is all about. Take a look at the closing prayer at the end of chapter 3 - I think it says it all.
May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all people - that He would
establish your hearts without blame before
the Father when Jesus comes.
Where has the Lord given you leadership responsibility?
Are you empowered by Him or are you trying to muster up your own power and strength?
Are you faithfully leading and influencing and trusting Him for the outcome?
Are you praying for those that the Lord has given you?
Are you allowing the Lord to give you His heart, His eyes and His love for each one?
Embrace the privilege . . . depend on Him . . . be faithful. You will not believe all that the Lord will do in and through your life when you do.
All praise to Him.