I really love my husband and my children. If something happened to me tomorrow and they had to go on without me, the most important thing is that they know I love them. This love for them has caused me to take interest in things I may not have had any interest in before.
When my kids were toddlers they LOVED Dora the Explorer. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my daughter was Dora the Explorer for Halloween three years in a row. We had all the Dora DVD’s. We had all the Dora Music on CD. We would take long trips that included hours of Dora’s greatest hits on repeat. We spent money to see Dora Live. My point here is that because I love them, I became all about what they are all about.
To really love someone means that we become all about what they are about. To love Jesus means we must identify what he was all about. Fortunately, Jesus himself tells us how to love him in John 21.
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
In this emotionally charged moment, Jesus lays it out for Peter and for us – “Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” It’s seriously all about the sheep.
When I was in college I began helping out in the preschool room at the church I attended each Wednesday. At first it was childcare, a way to help parents worship and enjoy the service, but as I served regularly and began to know each kid’s name I started to see them as more than just the object of my ministry. They were sheep – God’s little lambs. As I began to truly care about the sheep that God cared about it changed my whole perspective. When parents would bring their kids in I would greet them warmly by name. I would tell them that I was so glad to see them and remind them every week that God made them and loved them so very much. There was one little guy who was frequently dropped off dirty and in need of a bath, and I would take special care at diaper changing time to clean him up better than when he’d come. God opened my eyes to his sheep that needed care in the preschool. No one was applauding or telling me how great I was, and sometimes there was poo involved. Sometimes caring for sheep is gross, but Jesus gave everything for the sheep. I want to follow him and do the same.
As we serve together in the local church, let’s serve with renewed purpose, doing everything with the sheep in mind. I pray our volunteer teams including set-up, kids, and hospitality and cleaning crew never go under-staffed. I hope that as we serve on Sundays with purpose we will live the rest of the week on purpose, looking out for and caring for the sheep that God has put in our lives. Because we love Jesus, let’s be all about what matters most to him.