I like to write about my dad from time to time. He was such a strong character in my life. The older I get, the more I smile and laugh when I remember his very blunt ways. He had his hands full with this creative, emotional daughter (me) and I think he felt it was his commission to help me get to thinking more clearly in life and feel less.
We were in the car on our way back from the Hunt Camp and I was chattering away about all kinds of things. He wasn’t a big talker and I was probably driving him a little nuts. I would have been somewhere between nine to twelve years old. I was always interested in what my dad thought about things but sometimes his answers didn’t flow with my romantic ideas of things!
I thought of a question that was so beautiful in my mind, so wonderful! I asked, “Dad, if I have a little boy someday, can I name him after you?” He looked over at my very naïve facial expression very seriously. (It always worried him.) He answered, “I don’t care what you call him, just raise him right.” Bummer. How to take the wind out of the sails of my imagination. 😊
But I do laugh now, because I understand him so much more and because I know his heart behind those words. He wanted me to raise my children well.
Dad died of cancer just before I discovered we were pregnant with our second child. He was a boy and I named him after my dad. You can’t believe how similar they are even though they have never met. I do think my dad would be so proud of him and say I didn’t do too bad of a job.
It’s amazing to think of Jesus on that beach with Peter. He was pretty blunt too. Jesus was thinking about all His “sheep” He was leaving behind and all the sheep that would yet come to follow Him. He was leaving this world. He tells Peter, “If you love me, love my sheep. Feed them. Watch out for them. I’m calling you to be a Shepherd after my own heart.”
Peter had some stumblings – just like we all do, whether raising children or shepherding Christ followers. But He went for it. He loved Christ and shepherded out of that love. Boy, we need some more shepherds, people! It doesn’t have to be a flock of hundreds and you don’t have to have a formal title of “Pastor.” But who are you shepherding out of your love for Christ?
If you do have some people that you seek to shepherd, take time to write their names down.
How are you loving them? How are you watching out for them? How are you feeding them? Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about what is in Jesus’ heart for these people and what your part is.
If you don’t have people yet, start with two. Ask the Spirit to help you think of two people that you could love, feed, etc. You can even do this incognito. You could pray for them. You can ask the Spirit for a word of encouragement for them and send it.
Photo by Biegun Wschodni-unsplash