John 21:15-17 “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of 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 said, "Feed my sheep.” (NIV)
Jesus is gone and Peter has gone back to fishing. Jesus knew that Peter was wavering in his faith and direction. It was easy for Peter to affirm his love for Jesus, but did he really love Him? Was he willing to pursue Jesus with an abandonment that allowed him to accept what was given to him regardless of his physical needs for sustaining life, the threat of persecution for following Jesus, or for the unknown when you walk by faith. Three times Jesus challenged him to not only love Him, but also to feed His sheep. Could Jesus just as easily have said this to you? Have you chosen a life of abandonment where your heart hurts for the lost while desiring to encourage and be a part of the lives of fellow believers? Does your fellowship with fellow heirs in Christ have an over-riding purpose of leaving them encouraged and stimulated in their faith or does it look any different from the fellowship you might have with an unbeliever? How God uses each Christian to feed fellow believers may look different. The key question is whether there is a desire and driving purpose to feed the sheep of this world – Jesus’ sheep?
Romans 1:9-12 “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.” (NIV)