In our series of meditation on the Crowns, today let’s focus on two types of Crowns, beginning with the Crown of glory… The Crown of Glory
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords 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 does not fade away.” (I Peter 5:4)
Where evangelism ends, pastoral work commences. If through an evangelistic ministry God operates as an obstetrician, then through the Pastoral Ministry He serves as a Pediatrician. The souls won over to the Lord by an Apostle/evangelist need to be nurtured by the Pastor. While an Apostle/Evangelist would constantly be on the move (Acts 8:39-40), a Pastor is invariably a stationery, local overseer (Acts 14:23) vested with the responsibility of building up the new Christians in faith in order they blossom into profitable servants for the Lord themselves. This is not to say that an Apostle/Evangelist would not spend any time in personal counselling as a Pastor patiently does or that a Pastor would never go an extra-mile in winning the souls for the Lord, like an earnest evangelist does. It is just that that their Divine calling is well-defined and majority of their time/effort is directed towards achieving the purpose of their call.
Since a Pastor works amongst mostly believers, one doesn’t see normally public manifestation of “signs and wonders” in His Ministry, which is conspicuous by its presence in an evangelistic Ministry amongst unbelievers (I Cor 14:22), but the Lord would give a Pastor a heart of a good shepherd to lead lovingly the flock by example besides anointing him with His power to be a wonderful expositor of the Bible bringing forth profound truths, thereof. Even Christian history bears witness to this truth. Going by Biblical definition of the word Apostle (2 Cor 12:12), even great servants of God of past like say C.H. Spurgeon, Pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle Church, London or Pastor Rick Warren (of the present generation) of Saddleback Church, California may not fit into the category of Apostles whose Ministry, I repeat, is distinguished by “Signs and wonders”, but can anybody deny (“one can do so only at the risk of blaspheming the Holy Spirit” Matt 12:32) the “power” in the Ministry of teaching of these two Pastors, whereby building up their flock wondrously in Word and Spirit!
The Crown of Glory, reserved for Pastors is their exclusive treasure, which the Lord would not give to any other category of Christians and why not? These souls would diligently labour for the Lord far removed from public spotlight, which nine times out of ten would be upon charismatic Apostles (not their fault at all, I ought to add here).
The Crown of Life
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.“ (Rev 2:10)
For those who lay their lives at the altar for their Master’s sake, enduring everything unto the end, including the temptations (James 1:12) to deny relationship with Him, Crowns of life await. Simply put, only the Christian martyrs are entitled to the Crowns of life. Again, this is an exclusive crown for an exclusive lot.
It is said, one is ready to live for Christ, only when one is ready to die for Him. Speaking about a martyr’s reward can anybody forget the insightful, creative dying declaration of that great Christian martyr Jim Elliot “He is no fool, of who gives up what he cannot keep (physical life) to gain what he cannot lose”. Oh to die as a martyr for the Lord!
(To access the entire “The Crowning Glory” mini-series, please click here.)