Peter’s Expectation for the Appearing of and Reward from Christ (5:4)
Spiritual eldership is a sobering and serious responsibility for God-called and God-gifted men to serve God’s church in God’s way for God’s glory. We must evaluate our heart and ministry in light of the certainty of the coming of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9-15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:9-10). There is a certain gravity that is communicated in the words, “when the Chief Shepherd appears”. Most certainly He will come and evaluate our labor. That is why James reminds us, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (3:1; cf. Ezek. 3:17-19; 33:7-9; Acts 20:26-27; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Heb. 13:17). We can be sure that He will evaluate us in light of His word as it is revealed here through the Apostle Peter. So let us now take time to come before the word of God before which we are all laid open with nothing to be hidden (cf. Heb. 4:12). What is Christ’s judgment of this ministry? How have you taken care of His inheritance?
We can be thankful that our Judge is a righteous and rewarding Judge. Peter sounds forth a note of victory and joy in the phrase, “you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away”. My fellow elder, when you serve in the way that has been ordained by God—the way in which you have been instructed here you will receive the unfading crown of glory. The entire ministry of the elder has been built upon the foundation of the glory of Christ. The entire focus of his ministry has been on the glory of Christ. That is why he preaches the sacred texts, encourages, comforts, rebukes, and edifies because he desires the glory of Christ. I am unaware of a function within the local church that is subject to more discouragement than the role of an elder. For though he desires to see Christ glorified in the hearts and lives of the people to whom he ministers, it is a rare occurrence indeed. Yet be not discouraged my dear companion for Christ has assured that you will receive an unfading crown—the crown of eternal glory and perhaps we will one day join the elders around the throne and by His grace lay those crowns at His feet in worship and praise of our great Shepherd.
Serve the Lord well!