Feed the Sheep.
Message by Ellie Morrisroe (age 15) at the Youth-led worship services on May 5th.
I think the number THREE has a very important meaning in the bible. It was the THIRD time Jesus appeared to the disciples. Jesus asked Peter THREE times if he loved him. Peter denied Jesus THREE times. THREE times, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Throughout the bible, the number THREE occurs over and over again. But what does that mean? What significance does the number THREE have? Whenever Jesus has an important point or an important question, he uses the number THREE. It was the THIRD time Jesus appeared to the disciples, so this appearing must have some sort of major significance. Peter denied Jesus THREE times earlier, and now, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him THREE times, and he says, “Yes, of course, Lord” THREE times. Maybe to redeem himself from the denial, or maybe it’s to get his point across. Jesus say, “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.” Those are all extremely similar, and again, were said THREE times.
I’ve always wondered why Jesus made the point of THREE. But when he asked Peter if he loved him THREE times, it really helped me realize that Jesus never gives up on us. Peter denied Jesus THREE times. That is probably the worst hurt that anyone could possibly experience, and to our God he did that! But our God never gives up on us, and he went after Peter and asked him THREE times if he loved him. And Peter even said, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.” Which is true!
Jesus already knew that Peter loved him, so why did he even have to ask? Because he wasn’t going to let Peter give up on him, just as he doesn’t give up on us. Peter just denied Jesus, yet he told Peter that it is his job and his duty to “feed the sheep.” What does that even mean? Who are the sheep? Who are the lambs?
Sheep are followers. So when Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep, he means feed his followers. Provide for them, show them God’s great love, how he is so forgiving, and never gives up on us. Lambs are often weaklings, or people who may be struggling. So when Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs, he means find the people who are struggling and show them God’s great love. Peter was told that it is his job to provide for God’s people. Peter just sinned, though. Who else are sinners? We are. Every single one of us. So if Jesus told Peter, a sinner, to feed the sheep, what does that mean for us? We have to feed the sheep, too. It is our job, our duty, our purpose as Christians, to feed the sheep. It is our duty to show other people God’s forgiving, reckless, and oh so amazing love. If we don’t show other people, how will they ever know about God.
It is through us, our words, our actions, and our gestures, that other people get to know God’s love. So how do we do this? How do we show other people how amazing God is? God never gives up on us, so it is our job to never give up on other people. Even sometimes if we know the answers, we still have to ask the questions, over and over and over again, just like Jesus did!
Because asking so many times, could be the reason that one person believes in God and if one more person believes, one more person gains God’s love because of something you did. There is no greater reward. Sometimes it’s really hard, but we have to keep asking the hard questions. Keep asking if they are okay, because that is how we can feed the sheep for God.
At CDA High School, I am part of an organization called Sources of Strength, which is an organization that helps people in the school or community get the help they need by connecting them to the places or people that can help them. The Sources of Strength’s Mission Statement says, “Our mission is to spread hope, help, and strength into every corner of our community. Our mission is to help students and staff turn to their strengths and their supports that are all around. We are Connectors to Help and Strength. Our mission recognizes that our voice has great power and we use it to break the silence when someone is struggling, and to connect them to the help they need and deserve.”
Sources of Strength connects people to the help they need; as Christians, as Lutherans, as members of this church, it is our job to connect people to God—it’s our slogan, right? It’s our job to find those people in our lives, reach out to them, and connect them to God. It is our job to feed the sheep, just like God told us to.
So now, I want everyone to think of how you are going to feed the sheep, and hold that thought. I am going to pass out notecards, and everyone is going to write, “I will feed the sheep by ,” however you are going to feed the sheep. Here’s an example of mine—”I will feed the sheep by lending a helping hand to people who may be struggling, in order to connect them to God.” You can choose to sign your name or leave it anonymous. They will be collected and posted on our new “Feed the Sheep” wall; so whenever you forget how you’re going to Feed the Sheep, you can look back at this wall and remember your duty as a follower of God.
There’s a lot of ways our church is going to feed the sheep and connect others to God. I think God will be very please. Something to remember is that Jesus never gave up on Peter, even when Peter gave up on him. God never gives up on us even when sometimes we give up on him. While we may not like to admit it, we all do it sometimes. It’s our job to Feed the Sheep and not give up on other people, even when all seems hopeless and they are giving up on us.
Another great thing I love about this church, is that no one gives up on one another here. Everyone is always here for each other, and while we may be a small and sometimes overlooked congregation, I think that not giving up on one another makes us so strong. I’ve met some amazing people here, and made friends that will last a lifetime, and I think everyone would agree with me, that Lutheran Church of the Master is an amazing place, with amazing people.
Because not only are we connecting others to God, but connecting ourselves to each other, and, as a congregation, we are connecting our church to God, and I think that kind of bond is what makes us such an amazing church. While we might be going through tough times as a church or as individuals, there is no doubt in my mind that we will get through them. Because each and everyone of us has the connection to each other, and to God, to have the power to keep feeding the sheep. And if we continue to do that, if we continue to feed the sheep and show others God’s amazing love, I know that this church, and the people in it, are going to do amazing things. If I could pick one thing that I want each person to walk away with today and remember, it would be to never give up on feeding the sheep, just like God never gives up on us. And remember, you are so very loved.