I grew up loving animals and wanting to be a veterinarian.
Well, somewhere in those next few hours I’m not sure what happened. I not only joined 4-H, but Dad had signed me up to show a lamb in the upcoming January show. This began a whole new life for me. There was much I had to learn about being responsible for large animals, as well as raising, feeding, and showing this lamb, Suzy Q. Cute name, right?
When cute becomes a chore.
Cute little Suzy Q soon became a chore. Feed. Water. Exercise. Feed. Water. Feed. Feed. Feed.
On those freezing cold mornings when it was drizzling rain I seriously could have cared-less if this cute lamb got exercise, much less food. Confession time, there were even some mornings when I just didn’t feed her. My bad! Please don’t report me, because I did feel guilty all day at school afterwards.
Although I loved Suzy Q there were days I could have done without her and all the responsibility. I seriously would have been fine, going back to my way of life before I joined 4-H. But somewhere deep down, I had such a passion for animals that I knew I had to learn what it took to raise champions. And that I did for the next 10 years, even progressed to showing champion steers and bulls.
Recently, my mind has been wandering back to those animals that I loved and despised all at the same time. I’m continually reminded of what a chore it was to feed, water, exercise, and feed, feed, feed them when all I wanted to do was live a “normal” life like most of my friends.
From chore to calling.
I’m learning new lessons on “feeding sheep”, as John 21 has been very much at the forefront of my thoughts lately. When Jesus asks Peter three separate times, “Do you love me?” He also responds to Peter’s “yes”, by saying “Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.”
I find it curious that Jesus asks three times. I know as a parent when I ask my children three times it’s to get their attention.
I think there are three things Jesus is saying to Peter, you and I:
1. Get over your past.
I know you just denied me three times. That’s the past. Now let’s move on and be about our Father’s business.
2. I love you.
I know you feel like a failure, but you’re not. Your human with sin. Confess it, then hold your head high knowing I love you. Now, put your eyes on others.
3. I am serious.
I know you want to wallow in a self-destructive pity mode, but I am speaking to you. Get out there with my people. They need you! They need ME.
Jesus is saying go feed my sheep. Go serve my people. Go now!
Are you reluctant because you think there’s a past you need to overcome or move past first?
We have it backwards.
It is not about overcoming your past so you can then serve and reach others.
Instead, it is you serve and love others to overcome your past!
Will you join me in feeding sheep to overcome the past?