Food, and lots of it. My children are all “tweens” and young teens; they play sports, they’re very active and they are growing. That means they are hungry and eating all the time. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, when I’m not doing laundry or sitting in traffic. But I don’t mind. I enjoy feeding and caring for my children, and watching them grow.
How beautiful, that passage at the end of John, where Jesus is talking to Peter on the beach after breakfast. What a deep love between the Lord and Peter, as Jesus is telling Peter what He wants him to do. Peter loves Jesus so much, and even though Jesus knows all things, Peter gets to tell the Lord three times how he loves Him. Jesus wants Peter to tend (feed) and shepherd His sheep.
When I read this passage I usually think of a pastor/shepherd’s responsibility to feed the flock of God. But what about the rest of us? We all have sheep in our lives that the Lord wants us to feed. It may be a believer who is younger in the Lord that He is calling us to disciple. Young, hungry sheep need feeding; newborn babes in Christ long for the pure milk of the word.
For us parents and teachers, our young children are our primary ministry. They are the smallest sheep in the flock, and the Lord has given them to us for a time, to feed and care for. I have to ask myself: I feed my children physical food; what about spiritual food? Jesus reminds us in Matt 4:4, what God already told us in Deut.8:3; that man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. According to God, spiritual food is more vital to life than physical food. I’ve got three of the Lord’s sheep in my care. Am I being faithful to regularly feed them God’s Word? Dinner is over; it’s time to come out of the kitchen and find my bible. The sheep need to be fed.
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend(feed) my lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, 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, “Tend My sheep.”