The good crown: The crown of glory.
The life lived as a godly elder makes a difference now and later. In the sports banquet of heaven when the coach of the chief Shepherd takes the podium men and women will be called up and given honor. The best honor is that crown of glory given by God himself. Seek it we should. Seek it we must.
“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4–ESV)
The chief Shepherd was working through Peter to instruct and guide elders, under-shepherds. The chief Shepherd is Jesus Christ, the shepherd from heaven. His life on earth was sandwiched between the highest position (heaven) and basest abuse (crucifixion). In submission to God the Father he laid aside that which was his to become that which we needed. That was the example that must be taken to heart in all who would lead. Most err toward what Christ left behind (heavenly prowess). Some err toward self-inflicted suffering. Neither extreme is of excellence. Neither extreme is obedience. Both extremes can be rebellion and sin in the clothes of religion. All leaders should aim to do what God has instructed and to where God has led them. All who would come after Christ must leave the lasting crown for a God-giving in a future time. None must self-assign the crown. That is pride.
The crown of glory that one will receive from God will not be for duty done1, money earned2 or people manipulated3. It will rather be for character. This is seen because of the conjunction “and” which begins this verse. Live verse 2 and live verse 3 and when the chief Shepherd who provided the chief example is revealed then comes honor.
Choose you this day which crown you will receive4
Questions that will determine the crowning include: Did one shepherd…willingly? Was one generous? Was one an example of service? In a manner the crown may arrive before death. In a manner one’s goals may arrive before death. If one wants money, one may get it (and pastors are seen who live in luxury). There is the reward. If one wants the pseudo-honor that comes from lording it over the church members, deacons, and people that surround oneself one may get it here (and pastors are seen who live in lordship). There is the reward. All will be judged after the chief shepherd arrives. For those who sought the earthly reward what will be seen is that their reward came and their reward left. It ended when they did. End of story; end of glory. The crown of glory was there, but it faded away and is gone. Things done, though, from the motivation of Godliness do not fade away. They last forever.
Maybe a Joshua phrase can be here raised: Choose you this day whom you will serve.
Christ gave an example of wrongful leaders in Mark 12:38-405. There Christ is recorded as castigating the Pharisees for their motives. They were to be shepherds, but were self-assigners. They lived the downside of 1 Peter 5:2 and 3. They had their reward and it faded.
Key concepts from this section:
- Style of life directs the crown of glory
- Pastors are judged too
- Jesus lived the way pastors should
- You may get what you want and it may fade
- Glory, like suffering can be now or later (see this post on suffering in this regard)
- What is lasting