The people they shepherd are God’s church, God’s congregation of people. They do not belong to the elders; they belong to God. Secondly, Paul reminds the elders that the flock they shepherd is of infinite value to God. He obtained this flock with the blood of His own Son, the cross of Christ. The people they shepherd are blood-bought people.
He expects his under-shepherds to give their lives for his people, just as his son gave his life. Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25). All God’s shepherds will give an account of their shepherding work. As long as God’s people are in this hostile world, they need to be protected and fed God’s Word in order for them to grow strong in their relationship with God.
Victory day is ahead. Special honor and heavenly divine glory awaits faithful elders. This glory and honor is unfading. Christ will acknowledge and reward each for sacrificial service. There is also the sheer joy of seeing and hearing the Chief Shepherd’s approval.
Why do we need biblical, theological motivation for the work of shepherding God’s flock?
In what way is it a great honor and privilege to shepherd God’s people?
How did the quotation by Richard Baxter motivate you to do your work of shepherding eagerly? (See Biblical Eldership page 150.)
To be a cross-driven, cross-motivated elder, take your Bible concordance and look up all the verses that address the cross and the substitutionary death of Christ. Are there two particular passages regarding Christ’s death for you that especially motivate you to give yourself for others?