Being Sheep, or rearing sheep
Peter was Jesus’ disciple. He was getting to know him. He was in a state of repentance and at the same time filled with passion. He had denied Jesus 3 times. Hence, he was all the more eager to spread the message of truth. We’ll look at the conversation that Peter and Jesus had. We are also very similar to Peter. We love Jesus. We are getting to know him. We are repenting for our iniquities just like Peter. Now imagine this conversation between you and Jesus.
John 21: 15 –
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
three things: Feed my lamb, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep
Who is a sheep? To make it easier, let’s look at the characteristics of a sheep and it’s rearer.
Sheep : The average lifespan for sheep is 10 to 12 years. Sheep are ruminants (multi-stomached animals) and consequently, they rely mainly on hay or pasture for their dietary needs. They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day. When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach. Sheep are suspicious animals by nature and will spook easily if you yell or handle them roughly. Handling your sheep too roughly will actually cause them to struggle more, so the best approach is to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while you work with them. We recommend allowing one acre of land for every three to six sheep. This acreage may vary, depending on the type of land available. In areas that experience hot weather, pastures should have shaded areas for the sheep to prevent them from overheating. Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather. Sheep need to have their hooves trimmed every six to 10 weeks. This is a very important task because neglecting hoof trimming can lead to lameness and infection in your sheep.During your daily contact with your sheep, always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes. Symptoms indicating illness include loss of appetite, weakness or staggering, labored or fast breathing, diarrhea, or lameness. If any of these symptoms occur, pull the animal from the flock and conduct a full health check. If you cannot determine the cause of the condition, consult your veterinarian.
There are a few points that I understood that will help us. Peter was a fisherman and now God is calling him to take care of sheep (people). God has called us. We may be very different people. But there are few points that we can ponder upon.
Firstly, who is my sheep? Is this verse written for a church pastor only? I don’t think so. It is written to every believer and disciple of Jesus. Then you’d ask me, who is my sheep? Who do I feed or take care of? I believe, sheep is anyone under our custody or care. By God’s grace we have our workplaces, whatever position we are in, that work area is my custody. God expects me to pray for my area of influence, not only for promotion or an increment but for blessing over my work place. My family is in my custody, or care. They are my sheep. My neighbourhood, my friends, not only believer friends but mostly unbelievers, they are all my sheep. Can we think of five people whom you can call your sheep? People in your care. Think of 5 people in your care. You may have more.
When Jesus says my Sheep, he knows them and wants our participation in helping them grow. So now, since we know our sheep, what is my action plan?
- They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day – in other words feed them
“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15
Feed them with the word of God
Feed them with a vision
Feed them with prayer
Feed them with guidance
- When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach, because they are highly suspicious.
This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1: 19
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15: 1
I need to watch my behaviour when I am with my sheep. If I need my sheep to listen to me, I need to build that trust in them. I need to show my concern and care. I need to keep stable, so that I don’t create a suspicious atmosphere for them. In other words, I train myself, I seek my shepherds help to shepherd his sheep. Sometimes the sheep can be really difficult. They can be hard to manage, we need to to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while we work with them. We need to know the impact that our words can make towards the other person. We need to be firm but not harsh or overbearing. At the same time we can’t let go, and say that I am gentle with them. We have to address the concerns / issues wisely and immediately or else it could have a severe side effect.
- Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139: 7
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4: 12
We need to keep ourselves available. Keep ourselves ready for mentoring and discipling. Fresh water means help them to get the revelation of God afresh. Keep them safe. Being accessible at all times is humanly impossible but we must teach them to run to the word of God. Teach them to run to prayer, and hear from him. The safest place in this whole world is the presence of God. Why I say that is because, wherever, I am only His presence can hide me from every danger and at the same time only His presence can comfort us. Therefore, we need to teach them to run into the presence of God for safety.
- Always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes.
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2: 4
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12: 10
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34 – 35
It says in our daily contact, LOOKOUT. Many times, we get so busy with our routine, that we forget to intentionally LOOKOUT. We overlook OR NEGLECT many symptoms that could lead to poor relationships. Jesus said take care of my sheep, means, I am responsible for their well being. Sheep are very susceptible to infections and other illnesses, which can be fatal. If we overlook, these we may lose them forever or it’ll be too late to heal. Checkout, be accountable, help them to open up to their problem areas. Let’s not be quick in judging but we need to take on the role of helping them out of the situation or helping them heal or help them identify the issue.
Shrek the sheep became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone having shorn (shaved) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds – 50 lbs more than normal and enough to make twenty men’s suits.
Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece simply because he was away from his shepherd. It took a professional sheerer less than a half hour to rid him of his burden.
Shrek died back in 2011, but his story has just recently resurfaced in news outlets and social media sites alike due to a new interest in the science of fleece growth: Modern Farmer an internet resource for the farming community was curious: can a sheep’s wool grow forever? Its writer, Jesse Hirsch, interviewed Dave Thomas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s head of sheep studies. Thomas says a Merino sheep like Shrek will grow wool indefinitely.
Apparently, when God created sheep he had their need for people in mind. More specifically, their need for a shepherd. The same is true of us. Life involves the accumulation of burdens. Burdens that can’t be tended to without the help of the Good Shepherd.
One internet blogger had this to say of Shrek’s plight:
Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to indefinitely accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.
When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Are we willing to be that Peter?
Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.