I like the idea of writing posts in the series. I’ve tried on several occasions. The problem is that after the first post or two, I usually lose interest and the series peters out. Well I’m going to try it again with this “Feed My Sheep” series.
One feature I have recently added to the Thang is categorization of my posts. You’ll notice that under the title of every post there is list of the categories in which the post fits. If you are interested in posts on Eternal Progression then just click on that category and all the posts discussing that will pop up together. I think it’s a pretty nifty feature. I’ve given this miniseries its own sub-category as well.
So to get started, let’s look at the injunction from the Lord to feed his sheep:
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 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: 15-17)
In the series of posts to follow I will discuss the following questions:
a. Who: Just exactly who are the Lord’s sheep? Who is not the Lord’s sheep? How can we tell the difference (about ourselves as well as others…)?
b. What: What are we supposed to feed his sheep when we figure out who they are? What is the sheep food?
c. How: How do we actually go about doing that sheep feeding? What are the best sheep feeding strategies?
Sheep and Shepherds
In this post I want address the interplay between sheep and shepherds in the gospel. It seems that half of the time we are being told to be shepherds and to feed Christ’s sheep, and the other half of the time we are being asked to be the sheep of the Good Shepherd. So which is it? Are we supposed to be sheep or are we supposed to be shepherds? Apparently we are supposed to be both.
The Sheep Role
It seems to me that playing the role of sheep mostly requires having some faith in Christ and seeking to hear his voice (we’ll discuss this in detail in the next post) . In any town in the US a person can find a church that requires little more from its members than to show up for an hour or so on Sunday for church and occasionally donate when the plate gets passed. The role of sheep is largely the role of the one being fed; it is the role the recipient; it is the role of taker. But being a sheep is a gospel requirement. Christ insists that we be his sheep and take that which he freely has to offer us as our shepherd and through his under shepherds.
The Shepherd Role
If becoming like Christ and strengthening our personal relationship with him requires being a shepherd then Mormonism provides its members with a leg up in being Christ-like. With our lay ministry and the visiting programs and other assignments members receive in the church, we Mormons spend a lot of time attempting to feed the Lord’s sheep in official capacities. And when you combine that with the time and effort many Mormons spend trying to feed Christ’s sheep in unofficial ways we tend to be relatively good at the sheep-feeding portion of following Christ.
That must be a good thing…
Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6)