“Feed my sheep.” (John 21:16)
For the longest time I never quite understood what Christ meant exactly when he spoke to Peter and said, “Feed my sheep”. At first, I really believed it meant I was supposed to help people become Christians by talking about the Bible and giving them some sort of Biblical testimony about the love for God. But this never worked for me for several reasons.
For starters, I believe there are many paths to God, following the love of Christ is just one of them. Secondly, I don’t label myself a Christian because that’s a man-made term. I simply follow the teachings of Christ and choose not to label it any further. And lastly, I’m not a religious type of guy who feels a calling to do missionary work where conversion to a type of faith is at its core. This is precisely why I struggled immensely each time I read that passage in the Bible where Christ told Peter to “Feed my sheep”. But, could it mean more than what I once thought? Only recently did I come to a deeper understanding with this.
Maybe Christ was simply talking about loving his children through the gifts we are each blessed with? Maybe we all are meant to feed Christ’s sheep in our own unique ways? In my case, maybe I’m doing just that in all the passion I put into my 12 Step recovery work, especially when I do any of my speaking engagements where I share my testimony of addiction to recovery? And maybe each time I work with anyone in my recovery work in general, whether that’s with an individual or in front of a group, passing on my own message of understanding, hope, and love, is feeding God’s sheep?
As I pondered this, maybe doctors are already feeding God’s sheep when they work to help improve the health of their patients? Maybe musicians do the same each time they sing or play their instrument to their hearts content in front of an audience? And maybe gardeners beautifying nature at another’s home, therapists working to help improve their client’s mental and emotional health, chefs preparing tasty culinary cuisine for another, etc., each feed God’s sheep each time they utilize their gifts with love in their heart.
So, maybe all Christ meant when he said to Peter to “Feed my sheep” was simply to just follow whatever our passion is in this world and offer it to others with unconditional love in our hearts, as isn’t that at the core of all of Christ’s teachings? Regardless, this is the very basis of why I continue to follow Him and do my best each day to feed God’s sheep in the unique ways He blessed me with.
Dear God, please help me to always use whatever gifts You’ve given me to do my part in feeding your sheep.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson