Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”… Peter said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17
Our recent move has led us on a search for a church home. My prayer today was from Song of Solomon 1:7 where the bride (who I pictured as myself), asked her groom (who I pictured as Jesus) where to go to be feed and shepherded (in my words meaning direct me to a new church home).
It’s important to find a church where a shepherd pastor provides good teaching about God, his word, and life principles. It’s just as important to remember that being fed is only part of our need. We need to be involved in a church where we can feed and nurture others. Growing up on a farm I’ve seen the dangers of bloated sheep. It’s not a pretty sight. This picture comes to mind when I hear people share their desire to leave a church claiming they are not being fed. Makes me question what responsibility we have to feed ourselves and how much these people are invested in feeding others.
Pastors definitely have a responsibility to spend time in the Bible and to listen to God for direction and strategies for instructing their congregations, but they are never to become our only source for food. For me, there’s nothing as satisfying, exciting, and intimate as hearing God speak to me directly as I spend time reading the Bible and listening to him speak to me through my reading. I consider my pastor to be a supplemental resource, not my central or single resource.
I believe God provided his word to transform us, not to simply inform us. If we are open to hearing, God’s words will penetrate our hearts and impact our actions. There’s life in his word and his life is experienced as we serve, nurture, and feed others.
This is why I am praying not only for a church where I can be fed, but for a church that I can feed and shepherd others. When we realize this and feed others, we won’t find bloated sheep in church pastures.