On the path that the Lord has chosen for you to walk is where you are to walk, the question is, are you satisfied on that path? Not is Christ enough, but is what He has called you to do enough in your mind?
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)
Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he loved His sheep, He asked him if he loved Him.
There is a great responsibility to the one who has been placed in this position, he is to love the unlovable, those who are on the path that will not walk upon it, those who have no desire to be profitable, who bear little to no fruit, whose heart is not set firmly to spend a life seeking the face of God and living for His glory.
Many Godfearing men stand behind the pulpit each week staring out at faces with glazed over eyes, ones that are staring out the window at the world, or whose faces are planted in their cell phones. He speaks the words of wisdom and knowledge he has been blessed to understand, he offers more of Christ, and many listen, but they do not hear. It is difficult to feed sheep who offer no thanks, who do not grow, whose desire it is to know more of the world than of the Savior.
This man is on the path that the Lord has placed him on, moving forward with intent and great desire to know Christ and Him crucified, yet each Sunday morning, as it were, he must walk the long distance back to where most of his congregation still sits on the path, waiting for him to once again lead them where they have little desire to go. They will contact him during the week when trials and tribulations appear, asking for guidance, for clarification, for an answer to their question of “Why has God allowed this…,” when he has been informing them, some of them for many years, of 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
A rancher, a man who raises animals does so for a purpose, and that main purpose is so that he can make a profit from them, he expects them to grow and mature, they are not household pets. People that are being fed the Word of God are expected by the Lord to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, they are expected to become mature, to move away from the milk of the Word and begin feasting at the banquet offered by Christ. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Heb. 5:12)
But year after year that pastor begins the long walk backwards on the path each Sunday morning, speaking of the wonders that the Almighty has shown him, wonders that lay on the path ahead, while the glazed over eyes stare at him with their dull faces, and he hears in his heart, “if you love Me, feed my sheep.”
Because he serves the Risen Savior there is joy in his heart, because the sheep will only graze where they are used to grazing, he quenches the bitterness he feels at times, he holds back his tongue, and he continues to love them. But I believe the Lord blesses him at times in unexpected ways, for on that long stroll back upon the path on one Sunday morning he meets one of the sheep, alone, but moving forward, searching for more of Christ.
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1) It is this man’s efforts as he is allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify him that the Lord sees, he bears fruit, his responsibilities have been met, those who will not listen do not listen of their own free will, those who chose to remain on the part of the path and not move forward, seeking for more of Christ, chose this way by their own design.
He is responsible to teach, they are responsible to grow. He has fed the sheep, what they do with that nourishment is entirely up to them, he feeds them because he loves Jesus Christ.