I love the passage from first Peter that talks about shepherding God's flock which is under your care.
In this passage, Peter is writing to dispersed Jewish believers who were scattered throughout the Eastern World. These were probably those who heard Peter speak at Pentecost and were heading small ecclesias [gatherings of believers].
Because of persecution throughout the Roman Empire, these believers were scattered many were in hiding. Peter is encouraging them to remain faithful, to continue to live in hope, to encourage other believers. This letter was not written to us, but I believe we can glean some principles from it that we can apply to our own lives.
I Peter 5:1-4
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: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
As moms [and dads] we can put ourselves in the role of "elder". Our flock is our family. We are elders or overseers of our children--God has given us this flock.
We, like the shepherds in this verse, lead because we must. We do not do it for money or recognition. We must do this willingly, eager to serve, not lording over our families. We must be an example to our flock.
Quite a tall order.
Being an Example
How can we possibly do all this? Is it possible? How can real moms in this day and age do this? Well, I am a retired homeschool mom so I come from the viewpoint that children need quality time--and LOTS of it! Even if you don’t homeschool, you will have to admit that preschoolers (and really, children of all ages) require LOTS of time.
Our challenge, is how to make it into quality time and truly be shepherds of our flock. I think most of us are willing to shepherd and lead our children, but we don't know how. We need to be reminded not to lord it over those entrusted to us and I think the hardest things are to be eager to serve and to be an example to our flock.
I think we all want to pass along our beliefs, our love, our encouragement to our children in a meaningful way. We want them to grow up to be thoughtful men and women of God.
So, where to we start?
Where do I start?
Many of these suggestions I am taking from personal experience and from a book called: The Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola. I have learned much from this book and it is one that I re-read every couple of years when my children were younger.
To serve and be an example we must make the most of teachable moments, to show our children what we believe in, to talk to them about why we believe what we do, to show them what it looks like to have a servant’s heart.
Part of this includes the way we handle even routine household chores. We don’t want to serve by “doing things for the child that he can do for himself” because then the child will not learn the lessons he needs to learn while under our watchful care and guidance. Ultimately we want to raise capable, caring, responsible adults-and training toward that end should begin in early childhood.
According to Charlotte Mason, she says, and I totally agree, that each day children need:
• Something to Love
• Something to do (worthwhile)
• Something to think about
Tomorrow I will begin to look at these three things and discuss how to practically give these things to you children and why they are important.
Before then, I urge you to consider the verse above, I Peter 5:1-4, and think about how you can apply it in your life.