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. 1 Peter 5:2
Tough times call for strong leadership. Many can "lead" when things are going well--when business is thriving, when things are good at home, when the church is growing. But when the bottom falls out of the economy, when things are challenging at home, when the church is filled with worriers instead of worshipers, real leaders step forward to inspire and set the course.
Peter, in the last two years of his life, writes this letter to believers who are getting ready to experience persecution. This is a time when godly leaders must step forward. His instruction is to "elders" who occupy the office of church leadership, but more than that, model lives of spiritual maturity. Challenging times will be the finest moments for true leaders. They will serve willingly and eagerly, not under compulsion. They will care for others more than themselves. Their strength will be passed on to those who follow them.
I understand that not everyone has been given the gift of leadership. Don't try to be who you are not. But for truly gifted leaders it is time to step up. It's time to lead with strength, gentleness, and respect. It is time to show what a godly life looks like. It's time to say with Paul, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Father, give leaders the courage to lead with strength and love. The time is short. Challenge leaders to step up willingly and eagerly. In Jesus' name. Amen.