I once saw a sheep farmer pull his truck up to a sheep pen. As soon as they saw the truck, they ran to the trough. The appearance of the shepherd meant that they were to be fed. And he fed them.
What if the farmer decided to mend the fence instead? Not only would the sheep have been disappointed, but if other activities occupied him, they might starve. They could possibly graze on some grass throughout the day, but eventually would find themselves malnourished.
The same is true of pastors who do not feed their sheep with spiritual food: the preached word and the visible word of the Lord’s Supper. Unfortunately, there are a number of malnourished – even starving – Christians in churches today. Either the shepherd has abdicated his responsibility, or is feeding the sheep a diet of junk.
Jesus says to Peter, upon whose confession the church is built, to feed his sheep. And so that is what pastors do: they feed the sheep. For when they are on a steady and rich diet of God’s word, the sheep will run to feed when they see the pastor coming.
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)
O Lord, we pray that those whom you have appointed as pastors would feed your sheep, not with food of their own making, but that which comes from you. Amen.