“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;” 1 Peter 5:2-3 underlining added
In the first verses above, what does Jesus tell the apostle Peter regarding Peter’s love for Him? That Peter should in his love for the Lord feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep. In the next verse above, what does the apostle Peter tell the elders of the congregation of believers in Christ? How to shepherd the flock of God. Jesus and Peter are giving instructions on taking care of what? The sheep. In other words, the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s followers. Who? The sheep. WHOSE SHEEP?
GOD’S SHEEP! They are being instructed on how to lovingly, compassionately, mercifully, patiently, gently, honestly, tenderly, sincerely, etc. care for THEIR OWN SHEEP BELONGING TO THEMSELVES, right? Wrong! They are being told to care for the sheep ENTRUSTED TO THEM BY THE LORD! In other words, to lovingly care for THE SHEEP GOD GAVE THEM TO WATCH OVER WHO BELONG TO GOD NOT TO THEM! THESE ARE THE LORD’S SHEEP NOT THE PEOPLE’S EVEN THOUGH THE PEOPLE ARE CHARGED WITH CARING FOR THEM!
Those of us who have been blessedly called by God to watch over people who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and even those who need to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ but who have not yet committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to realize the people we are to watch over do NOT belong to us. They are NOT OUR SHEEP. They are GOD’S SHEEP, or they are people who still need to commit to Christ and become GOD’S SHEEP. They are simply ENTRUSTED TO US. We are given the responsibility of caring for them in whatever way the Lord has called us to do so.
If we love the Lord, as Jesus told Peter, we are to feed, or care for, GOD’S SHEEP, the SHEEP GOD ENTRUSTS US WITH, not for our own glory, but for GOD’S GLORY. However the Lord may choose to call each one of us specifically, whether it’s to feed God’s sheep the Bible through teaching others, whether it’s compassionately listening to and encouraging and praying for people who are hurting, whether it’s tending to the sick and those who can’t leave their homes due to age and disability, whether it’s to preach the Gospel on the streets to those who have yet to become God’s sheep and come into His forever fold through Jesus, whether it’s to cook every day at a soup kitchen to feed the hungry, whether it’s to be a doctor in a foreign missionary hospital caring for the sick and dying, whether it’s to offer Christian counseling at one’s church, whatever God’s calling for each of us, the bottom line is this. We are being entrusted with GOD’S SHEEP or SHEEP TO BE. People do NOT belong to us. They belong to HIM. And we should treat them accordingly. With love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, encouragement, hope, peacefully, patiently, with kindness, with sound teaching of God’s Word, with a solid and truthful explanation of the Gospel message, with a helping hand where one is needed, with tenderness, with strength and firmness and even sternness as the Lord might lead when correction is needed, and, all of this always to be under-girded by and encased within and delivered with THE LOVE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. ALL of this caring for HIS SHEEP for HIS GLORY!
Whose sheep are you tending? The Lord’s sheep are HIS. Let’s treat them, and all people, accordingly. In His love. For His forever almighty glory, Amen!