Feed My Sheep

The charge from the post-resurrection Jesus to Peter was, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”   And later Peter wrote to other church elders, “shepherd the flock of God that is among you.”  The metaphor had stuck with Peter.

But it seems the temptation is to set an agenda for the flock instead of feeding them.

Speaking as a mother I can relate to the tiresomeness and repetitiveness of basic caregiving.  No matter how much foresight and good judgment and talent you bring to the job, you can never feed the family once and for all.  The minute you get ahead in one area, a crisis breaks out in another area.   I understand how this failure to be able to look back and point to achievements and discernable progress eats into one’s sense of significance.

The thing that saves you as a mother is recognizing the job — as it is, not as we might wish it was — is a noble calling — and that at the end of the day it’s not achievements that matter, but love shown.  (Also chocolate and naps help.)

So if Jesus himself is the one that says to pastors, “feed my sheep,” then maybe such service IS more than the hamster wheel it surely must feel like at times.

Westminster Seminary prof Michael Horton and his reformation theology friends make some great points about this on this week’s edition of The White Horse Inn, using one of their favorite whipping boys as a foil.  Mega-Churches Respond to the “Reveal” Study

(Caveat:  I like The White Horse Inn, but their polemics make me uncomfortable at times.)


About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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9 Responses to Feed My Sheep

  1. Hi,

    This is interesting, particularly the line regarding polemics. I ask because I really struggle with this question. I ask because I’m reasonably sure that, over the last several years, the WHI guys have “toned down” the polemics. This question intrigues me because I’m not sure I know where the boundaries are any more.

    This is a genuine question. Can you give specific instances when it seemed to you the WHI guys went beyond the pale and what it was about their comments that bothered you? Your answer might help me to find (if not always observe) some rhetorical boundaries.


  2. katiekind says:

    Hi R. Scott,

    That is a good question and it pleases me very much to hear that you sense the WHI folks have toned down the polemics. I think that’s a worthy direction to go.

    I don’t know if I will have time to go back through their broadcasts to pinpoint what tends to bother me, but I will keep your question in mind and try and let you know if I can tell you something.

  3. Katie,

    I’ve subscribed this thread so, if you think of any concrete examples, they’ll show up in my reader. Otherwise, you can find me at the Heidelblog. I am genuine because I think I lack a certain internal governor that other people have — or at least that’s what people tell me!

  4. katiekind says:

    By the way–just checked the Heidelblog–you live in our old stomping grounds. Our two oldest kids were born in Oceanside. When we were newlyweds we had a little rented house adjacent to Holiday Park in Carlsbad. We loved it there.

  5. Brian says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I like the WHI guys but I do cringe every now and again. Now I need to think about why that is….. :-)

    It might be I’m just too much the Evangelical. They seem to put a lot of emphasis on receiving/encountering/whatever God through the institution of the church – and a sacramental church at that. They also seem to paint the Emergent folks with too broad of a brush. I have my own concerns but not being connected with an “official” church within an “official” government of churches is not one of them.

    I’ll need to listen to this latest podcast an think about it some more.

  6. Hi Brian,

    Yes, the WHI guys are critical of churchless evangelicalism. The confessional Protestants hold that Jesus established a visible institutional church (Matt 16 and 18 — one cannot “tell it to the church” if the church is only “invisible”) because they want the evangelicals to stop floating about and unite with the visible church. They/we hold a high view of the sacraments as “means of grace” because Jesus instituted them as such.

    As to painting with a broad brush, have you read what the Emergent guys are writing? I know Mike is very well read in the Emerging AND Emergent lit and he’s pushed me to read both streams of the lit and I have.

    You should check out Why We’re Not Emergent by two guys who should be. It’s well done. I’ve interacted with Brian McLaren in the new volume edited by Gary Johnson (publ. by Crossway – Reforming or Conforming and Mike has interacted with several Emergent and Emerging guys in print.

    Whatever the guys say, they say it because, for the most part, they are all refugees from fundamentalism/evangelicalism who’ve discovered the Reformation and see that as the way forward for evangelicals. They do it with love.

    This gets to the matter of rhetoric. How do they point out the problems of evangelicalism without pointing out the problems of evangelicalism? Hey, they used to run spoofs of Pat Robertson and the like. They don’t do that any more — even though they were hilarious!

  7. katiekind says:

    How do they point out the problems of evangelicalism without pointing out the problems of evangelicalism?

    LOL, R. Scott!

    Ahh…that makes sense. If that’s central to the purpose of the radio program, then you’re right. I had somehow failed to grasp that *that* was intentionally the beating heart of it all–and I’ve listened to them for years. I guess the opening theme (which by the way I think is one of the coolest melds of sound effects, intro music and voice over I’ve ever heard–and which has held up really well over the years) was too subtle for me! Even though it is not that subtle ;-) when put together with what you just wrote.

  8. justinpatton says:

    “The thing that saves you as a mother is recognizing the job — as it is, not as we might wish it was — is a noble calling — and that at the end of the day it’s not achievements that matter, but love shown. (Also chocolate and naps help.)”

    very similar to:

    “Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

    -Thomas Merton

  9. katiekind says:

    Yes–that’s the same thought. It’s either depressing or encouraging, I guess!

    Well, I guess it’s encouraging in that that’s a pretty good thing to have left after you get rid of the illusions about what could never really be anyways.

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