“Feed my lamb. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep”.
These were Christ’s final words to Peter. I am struck that He did not give Peter any demands upon how to establish the hierarchy of the church, or how to administer the eucharist or, how long to preach or even how to teach. He told Peter to feed the lamb (the young?) and feed the sheep (the more mature?) and “take care of the sheep”—i.e. sheep can be stupid and do the dumbest things, so look out for them (that’s my take on this, but I could be wrong).
Peter was the first “pope”, the head of the church, the “rock”… but is what Jesus requested of Peter any different from what He requests of me or any other Christian worker? I was not called to create a ministry, or establish an international camp or write these little devotions: I was called to feed sheep and lamb and care for His flock. Imagine a church or community or nation that lived with that as their “constitution”.
Dale Carnegie famously taught that, “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.” Even more true in ministry, I can envision that the cause of the Kingdom can be furthered far more easily if we cared and fed those in our flocks (that is, provided those things essential for spiritual growth and development) than by any amount of time or resources invested in “feel good” worship services, air-conditioned auditoriums or eloquent/entertaining speakers. (Please forgive my soap-box).
Feeding the lamb and sheep is not something that brings us fame or fortune and it’s not likely to be something that brings quick gratification. Those that care for others are often the most over-looked and less celebrated members of a church or Christian organization, but according to Jesus, Peter, the head of the church, was supposed to about the “menial” task of looking after the needs of others. Perhaps we have our priorities in ministry backwards.
What speaks to me is that the most important thing I can do in ministry is to be sure that those in my care are being properly “fed” the good things that God would have them consume (spiritually speaking) and to keep an eye on them for whatever things are needed for their well-being. Imagine a community that really lived like that—-where everyone was looking after the well-being of the other!
May this camp become such a place—-a place where everyone that is hungry or thirsty is fed—- and where no one is carelessly tended. Amen.
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