Feed My Sheep

July 01, 2008 | Steve Vistaunet

The Master gazed at his protege and smiled, remembering how it had begun.

He recalled the bushy-headed, eager, impulsive young man, in which he saw great potential—for good, and for disaster. Along with a strong will there was the unmistakably impulsive, stubborn streak that portended trouble. But past the rough exterior the Master saw a diamond-in-waiting.

So instruction began—days, weeks, months of lessons, stories, examples and hands-on training. The young man was not always a model student. He was bold, brash and overconfident. Often he tried other methods than those advised by the Master, with predictably disastrous results. In one such experiment, he nearly drowned. And then there was the Mike Tyson-esque incident with the ear. Timid he was not.

But the Master never flew off the handle or told him to shape up or ship out. In fact, he was often included in the Master's select mentor group, seeing and hearing things beyond the scope of other students. All the while, the Master constantly, patiently showed confidence in his student, who responded with unparalleled devotion.

Then came a night black as pitch when unthinkable words were said, and the student, red-faced with shame, felt the Master's gaze upon him across a firelit courtyard. With breaking heart he turned away from those eyes, ran out into the dark night and wept bitterly.

During the days that followed he rode waves of emotion, wishing he could do it all over, wanting to make everything right, wondering if there would ever be another chance to gain his Master's confidence.

And now, they were together once more. Once again the student felt the Master's eyes upon him. The Master beckoned. "Do you love me?" he asked. "Yes, I do," stammered Simon Peter. "Then feed my sheep," said the Master. Three times came the question. Three times came the answer. Three times the response—"Feed my sheep."

And the torch was passed.

Today our Adventist teachers stand before rooms full of apathy, and wonder if their efforts will ever pay off. But the Master's call burns deep and bright: "Feed my sheep." Thus our Master's torch is passed. It's passed to imperfect people who believe that if the Master can work miracles through a rough-hewn, impetuous disciple, He can do it through them as well.

They, like the Master, gaze at their students with eyes of faith and see all that they can become, when the Master is given room to work. They know, because He's done it for them.

Today our Adventist teachers stand before rooms full of apathy, and they wonder if their efforts will ever pay off.