A familiar piece of scripture took on some new meaning for me recently. It’s one of my favorite things about a life with Christ … this reality that He’s always teaching me fresh things that I need by helping me see something new in His everlasting, never-changing Word. On this particular day, I was reflecting on a conversation Jesus had with Peter. You can find it in John 21:15-19. Jesus keeps asking if Peter loves Him, and Peter keeps saying yes. Each time, Jesus adds a simple command: Feed my sheep.
This is a great passage that sets up Peter’s role in the Church, and it also speaks clearly to each of us today: If we love Jesus, then we’re compelled to feed His sheep.
I’ve always thought of “His sheep” as the people I encounter each day — anyone and everyone. I still believe that’s the case. On this day, however, the meaning felt more specific, more personal. If I love Jesus, I will feed His sheep. So, if I love my wife, it also makes sense that I will feed her sheep … I will feed the ones she takes care of and loves dearly. This reality strengthened my commitment for how I’m called to love my wife’s children — my stepchildren. When we married, I made a commitment to love and care for her children just as I love and care for mine. But now I see it in a more powerful light. When I “feed” them, I’m showing my love for her and for Christ.
For me, this raised an interesting question: Who do I love and how am I feeding their sheep? I love my family — my mom, my dad, my siblings, my children, my stepchildren, my grandchildren … I will feed their sheep. I love my friends. I will feed their sheep. I love no one on earth more than I love my wife. I will feed her sheep. And, most of all, I love Jesus. I will feed His sheep.