Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

21. From Failure to Fellowship – Part 2

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John 21:15-22

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

At this lower level of love Peter probably wondered if Jesus could or would use him. But it’s here that we see Christ’s second call to:

2. Serve Selflessly.

To each of Peter’s replies Jesus responded by giving Peter a task to do because Jesus was not looking at Peter’s past, instead He was focused on what Peter would do in the future. If the ultimate commandment is to love God with everything we’ve got, then the second most important instruction is to love people. Notice, Jesus didn’t say, go to Bible study or church he said feed my lambs, care for my sheep and feed my sheep. Why because your Christianity isn’t about YOU. It’s not about your wants it’s about His Will, Jesus saved you, so you could become like Him. One of the ways that we demonstrate our fondness for Jesus is by loving and caring for people. Jesus saved us to serve not to be selfish. One of the deadliest diseases that is destroying the church is the Me monster, where we make everything about self instead of service. Instead of feeding the sheep the Me monster wants to fight with the sheep. Instead of showing up to serve it wants to soak. What about you are you serving in your local church? Our love for God will always show itself in our love and care for His people. If we say we love God lavishly then it will show in our selfless serving. As 1 John 3:18 says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”If you have been forgiven, then you need to stop focusing on your failure and start focusing on feeding the flock. Unfortunately, many of us are listening more to the voice of our failure than we are the Father and as a result we are letting the voice of our failure determine our future instead of the voice of our Father. But your failure is not final, not only can you be forgiven and experience fellowship with the Father, but you can serve His flock. The question is this, is how you are living being motivated by your failure or the Fathers forgiveness? Jesus starts by calling Peter to feed His lambs. Peter is reminded that children matter to God. Parents seek God’s forgiveness and don’t let your failures keep you from feeding your kids. Jesus starts with the lambs because they are the most vulnerable. Second, we see the care of the sheep, it is the word translated “shepherd” and implies much more than just feeding. A good shepherd makes sure all the needs of His sheep are taken care of and that they are protected. Third Jesus says, “Feed my sheep” The Greek word means, “Dear sheep.” Peter is called to see the value of others. People should matter to us because they matter to God. One of the reasons we tire of serving others is because we stop seeing their significance to God and start focusing on self. These are “doing words,” verbs that describe the function of all believers to feed the flock and shepherd the sheep. Unfortunately, we have turned the verbs into nouns as we often refer to the “ministers” or the “pastors” as the ones who are to do this, but we are all called to care. Why because these are His sheep and His lambs, not ours. Jesus refers to them as “my” lambs, “my” sheep, and “my” sheep. They belong to Him, but He entrusts them to us. Everyone has worth and dignity in His sight. What about you, how are you selflessly serving those around you?

 

 

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