There’s a certain letter I’ve been reading over and over lately, and the funny thing is, even though this letter wasn’t meant for me, the message has hit me between the eyes. (No, I’m not sneaking into mailboxes reading other people’s mail!) It reads:
“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.” 1 Peter 5:2-4
Peter wrote these words to the elders of the church in relation to their pastoral duties in their communities, not to a mother and homemaker. Yet the more I read it, the more it fits. I’ve worn a lot of different hats in my life, but I’ve never seen myself with a shepherd’s staff before.
Right now my husband and I have a flock of three, ages 8, 6, and 2. Like most parents, I tend to forget that my children are not mine. They do not belong to me; they belong to God. They are His children, and for a time in their lives, they are in my care, but they share the same relationship with God that I have – Father and child. In that strange and wonderful way, my children and I are equals.