Last week I taught from the book of 1 Peter. I found it both powerful and encouraging to read through chapter five. In this passage, Peter described how an elder and how the general members of a church should act. This passage reminded me of my days of working in a kitchen:
In the kitchen the overall goal is to serve good quality food. Now to accomplish that goal each cook or chef has their own individual goal. The prep cook’s job is to prepare the food to be able to cook. The pantry cook’s job is to make the salads and desserts for the customer. The sauté cook’s job is to make high quality sides and app. The broiler cooks job is to cook the entrée and the dishwasher’s job is to wash the dishes. Each one of the jobs is extremely important. If the prep cook doesn't prepare the food to be cooked… the other three cooks won’t have any food to cook… and if the dishwasher doesn't wash the plates … the cooks won’t have anything to serve the food on. So you see the importance of each one of these positions. Now, what would occur if any one of these positions didn't know or didn't follow the description of what they are supposed to accomplish? It would be chaos and nothing would get accomplished. Of course, there is one position in the kitchen that I didn't mention and that is the executive chef. This is the top chef in the kitchen and he teaches the others in the kitchen how to do their job, and he gives them advice so the cook knows the best way to make the food. The executive chef (if good) will also jump in and help where help is needed. Whether that is cooking on the front line or even washing dishes. He leads by example and also gives advice.
The same can be said about the church. The elder is like an executive chef. A good one will be a role model (5:1), be an example by feeding and leading the flock(5:2-3), and stay focused on the fact that they will have a reward in heaven(5:4). The general member is like the other cooks. Each member plays a vital role in helping the local church function. They are all important no matter the task at hand. Within the general members description one verse from Peter stood above the rest. In Verse 6 and 7, we see a mandate that can be both challenging and encouraging at the same time. Verse 6 and 7 are as follows:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
In the first part of this statement, Peter is telling us to humble ourselves. In church settings or, really, in any setting this is a tough statement to following. Often times as church members, we find ourselves wanting to move into a position of authority. People become impatient or even angry because someone else was asked to lead a small group and they were not. In some cases, believers look down on those that are not doing the same actions that they are doing for Christ. Remember, God has a plan for all of us in the church. Just like every position in the Kitchen is important … so much more is every position in the church of great importance.
As Christians we are to be humble and wait on God to lift us up… in His timing. The passage goes even further, telling us to cast all are cares upon God. No matter how difficult it may be… it is important for us to wait on God’s timing. This doesn’t have to be just for a church setting. Maybe, you desire a management position at your job. As humans, we may be tempted to go about the wrong way to move up the “corporate ladder”. We worry about how to provide for a family or are tempted to “compete with Joneses”. My encouragement for us all is to humble ourselves before a gracious and powerful God. I have had to do this in a few areas in my life and I hope/pray you can/ will do too.