Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of Joh, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes Lord,” he said. “You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
Jesus asks Peter this important question, not once, but three times consecutively: “Do you love me? Good. Feed my lambs.” Jesus is so concerned about the welfare of His flock that He is very choosy about who he puts in charge of them. Only a sincere love for Him will equip Peter to feed hungry lambs.
Jesus did not say, “Are you concerned about people? Feed my lambs.” Or, “would you like a rewarding occupation? Fed my lambs.” Or even, “would you like to be appreciated and respected? Fed my lambs.”
Feeding lambs is a difficult calling. Ask any pastor. Some lambs are hungry and want to be fed. Others want the food of their own choosing. They think they know what they need, not understanding that what naturally appeals to them is deadly. It brings self-centeredness and instability. Then there is the small minority who comes to hear the Word and make trouble. Because of the complexity of responses, only a love for Jesus will give shepherds the endurance and joy they need for the long haul. If they serve for any other reason, burnout and disillusionment are inevitable.
For far too many years I gave out spiritual food while my own spirit was shriveled from lack of nourishment. I had tried to feast on Christian education, but it was like eating sawdust after a while. It was dry and tasteless. Interesting facts failed to sustain my heart when hard times came. When I finally connected to the heart of Abba, I found the feast I had been looking for. The Word came alive, His voice made me tremble, and this constrained me to feed His daughters.
Keep my faith from becoming intellectual, Lord. Keep me connected to you so I can feed your lambs. Amen