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From Trials to Triumph

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    Undershepherds Are to Be Watchful

    Addressing the church elders regarding their responsibilities as undershepherds of Christ's flock, the apostle wrote: “Tend the flock of God that is your charge, ... not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.”TT 276.3

    Ministry means earnest, personal labor. Pastors are needed—faithful shepherds—who will not flatter God's people nor treat them harshly, but who will feed them with the bread of life.TT 276.4

    The undershepherd is called to meet alienation, bitterness, and jealousy in the church, and he will need to labor in the spirit of Christ. The servant of God may be misjudged and criticized. Let him then remember that “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated... . And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:17, 18.TT 276.5

    If the gospel minister chooses the least self-sacrificing part, leaving the work of personal ministry for someone else, his labors will not be acceptable to God. He has mistaken his calling if he is unwilling to do the personal work that the care of the flock demands.TT 277.1

    The true shepherd loses sight of self. By personal ministry in the homes of the people, he learns their needs and comforts their distresses, relieves their soul hunger, and wins their hearts to God. In this work the minister is attended by the angels of heaven.TT 277.2

    The apostle outlined some general principles to be followed by all in church fellowship. The younger members were to follow the example of their elders in the practice of Christlike humility: “‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you.”TT 277.3

    Thus Peter wrote at a time of peculiar trial to the church. Soon the church was to undergo terrible persecution. Within a few years many leaders were to lay down their lives for the gospel. Soon grievous “wolves” were to enter in, not sparing the flock. But with words of encouragement and cheer Peter directed the believers “to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” “The God of all grace,” he fervently prayed, “after you have suffered a little while, ... will Himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.”TT 277.4

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