Tending God’s Sheep

John 21:15-19
Acts 25:13-21 / Ps 103

Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?
(John 21:15)

Have we led God’s sheep in meadows green?
Spread His Word for which we were called?
Let’s ask ourselves if we have been
The worthy shepherds of His fold.

After they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Then He said to him a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Look after my sheep.” The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus then said, “Feed my sheep! Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this signifying what kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:15-19)

Reflection

When Jesus asked His foremost apostle, Peter three times if he loved Him more than the other apostles, or more than other things that he was preoccupied with (like going back to his old job, fishing), the Lord was merely giving Peter the opportunity to cancel out the number of times that he had denied Jesus in the courtyard of Pilate by affirming his love for Him three times. It was also the Lord’s way of anointing Peter as the leader of His apostles and sealing his commitment to serve His Church.

Jesus emphasized Peter’s role as His head shepherd by telling him to “Feed my lambs” (Jn. 21:15), “Tend my sheep” (16), and “Feed my sheep” (17). Jesus always referred to Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’, but now that He was going back to the Father, He was transferring the mantle of leadership to Peter.

As God’s shepherd, how well have I been feeding His ‘lambs’ – the members of our BCBP community? As their chapter head, I often wonder if I have been doing enough to encourage them to regularly attend our breakfasts, Teachings and Assemblies. I try to set the example by 100% attendance, and by actively inviting first-timers to our breakfast meetings. Every morning, I encourage them through the governance team to “feed” on God’s Word regularly for their spiritual sustenance. Still, I feel these are not enough. As leaders of His flock, do we ‘pasture God’s sheep in green meadows’, guarding them from predators (false teachings), meeting with them one-on-one? Have we been beacons of integrity to them? Do we try to be good examples to the flock in righteous living and humble service? Do we boldly proclaim the Word in our personal testimonies and encourage others to do the same? Are we prepared (biblically literate) enough to teach the doctrines of the Church? Do we encourage our brethren to share their time, skills or resources for the chapter’s missions?

The tasks of a ‘shepherd’ is never easy indeed. It is only because of love that they are never burdensome. Besides, if we believe in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and our brethren in the community have affirmed this mantle of leadership, then this yoke to serve as God’s shepherd is truly “light and easy”. Otherwise, can we give an honest answer when the Lord asks us, “Do you love me more than these?”

Bless all the shepherds of your flocks, Mighty God, so that we may wisely lead Your faithful ones to the green meadows of Your kingdom. Amen.

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