Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feed My Sheep

I was inspired to write this post after I saw William's comment on Malcolm's blog regarding the "easy life" of a sheep.

John 21:17 (NKJV)
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” 
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” 
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Peter had denied Jesus three times, and in John 21:17 Jesus asked Peter for the third time, "Do you love Me?" After Peter answered, Jesus told him to "Feed my sheep."  In other words, Jesus was telling Peter to forget the fact that he had denied Him three times but from now onwards show his love for Jesus by feeding his sheep.

Let's take a closer look at these three words: "Feed My Sheep".

FEED - The shepherd has to give the sheep food to satisfy their hunger.  However, if the sheep still remain hungry after being fed, then the shepherd has to explore why this is so.

1. The sheep have voracious appetites.
This is a good problem! The sheep wants to grow more and more into God's word but now the shepherd also has to grow as well in order to satisfy the flock's voracious appetite.

2. The food is bad.
This problem is usually exacerbated by the fact that the shepherd does not know or want to acknowledge that the food which he is feeding is bad for the sheep.  Since the sheep still remains hungry, the shepherd tries to feed even more of the same bad food which of course does not solve the problem.  This will force some of the sheep to look for good food in other pastures, and the shepherd will soon find his flock dwindling.

MY - The shepherd has to constantly bear in mind that the ultimate owner of the flock is the Lord.  The shepherd is not the owner, but tasked to look after His sheep and is accountable to Him for the welfare of His sheep. There are some shepherds who treat the sheep as if they are his "loyal subjects" in his own little kingdom and expect that they obey his every command.  They forget that they are put in place to serve His sheep, not for His sheep to serve them.

SHEEP - The greatest mistake that the shepherd can make is that he forgets that he is tending SHEEP, not cattle. Instead of leading the sheep as a shepherd does, he treats them like cattle and drives them like a cowboy. The sheep is not a working animal. Sheep, unlike cattle, are not expected to plough the field, carry loads or pull carts. The shepherd's job is not to make the sheep work but rather to make the sheep rest and relax - "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters," (Psalm 23:2) 

Why are some flocks flourishing while many others are not?  Perhaps it is because those shepherds truly understand the meaning and significance of "Feed my sheep."   

1 comment:

Malcolm Loh said...

Wonderful revelation!

Must share this with Rev Peter Koh :-)