How Should We Serve ~ part 2

Feed My sheep.

I’ll never forget my first encounter with the personal voice of God speaking to me, who would, right? I had been a Christian for about 8 years, was ordained and serving in part-time youth ministry, trying to figure out how to provide for my family, and I just sort of spun out at the feet of Jesus. I couldn’t go any further.

I had just finished the physical exam part of the fire department hiring process and was at the bank where MaryAnn worked waiting for her to get off at 5:00 p.m. I was early and I was exhausted. I was also at wit's end as I didn’t want to be a fireman but I didn’t know what else to do and I didn’t have the self-confidence to pursue the things I loved.

I drug my sweaty body out of our Pinto and crawled up on the hood of the car, laying there with my back on the windshield and my head laid back on the white top, just above the glass. I just looked into the deep blue sky above Bank of America and prayed a familiar, desperate prayer. Maybe you’ve prayed it – “God, I need you.”

And He spoke to me. It wasn’t audible, and it has only happened a couple times in my entire life, and I know I was on the brink of physical collapse, but I heard it as clear as anything I had ever heard.

He said, “Eddie, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, I love you,” I answered, overlooking, in the moment, the unusual holy encounter.
And He said, “Feed my sheep.”

I knew that we were recounting the same conversation Jesus had with Peter after the zealous disciple had denied Him and was broken and ashamed (John 21:15-17), but this time He was speaking the same word to me. He was calling me, out of love for Him, to feed His sheep.

I knew right then what I needed to do in life. But here’s the rub. My initial translation of that was that I needed a job in the church. That’s not what God said, but it was how I translated it to vocation. This is really important. God does call people to lead His body, but not everyone. Some can ‘feed His sheep’ from other positions, in public schools, for instance, as a teacher. You can ‘feed His sheep’ as a receptionist in a doctors office, or as an electrician, plumber, artist or baseball player. You can feed His sheep in whatever you are doing if you are living a virtuous, admirable, trustworthy life. You don’t have to work for a church to do that. I wish someone would have told me that when I was eighteen.

I tried to squeeze myself into the shape of a pastor for half my life. But honestly, I never knew what I was doing and always felt like a square peg in a round hole.

Dear one, don’t add to what God has said, keep your calling simple, just ‘let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ Matthew 5:16.

Sincerely,
Ed

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