Too often we think of love as an emotion. We must have butterflies and bees and sweet things warm, fuzzy feelings. I agree, perhaps in our youth to express love we need all those things. As we get older, we begin to realize that love is much more than an emotion. You have all heard me say it is really an act of will. The problem with calling it an act of will, people tend to think of it in terms a diet. I must use all my will power to lose weight. Or I must use all my will power to quit smoking. Or all my will power (you fill in the blank.) But that is not love. Instead, we need to look to the gospel message to understand true love. And how God expects us to love Him.
Jesus tells us from the beginning if you love me keep my commandments. That makes it sound rather onerous. Does keeping your commandments sound like love? Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Peter responds, “Yes Lord you know I love you.” Jesus, “Feed my sheep.” Can we apply feed my sheep to keeping His commandments?
The word feed means to nurture, to provide for their needs. We do not nurture people because we must but because we love them.
The next word, my, the sheep belong to the Lord. We do not own them but are asked to be stewards. Notice we are asked. We do not have to, but we desire to do so because we love them.
And sheep, we are not always sure of what we are to do unless we trust in God. Too often we just run with the group not taking the time to reflect what truly impacts our life. Sheep require a lot of care. So do we.
Feed my sheep. Understanding the phrase this way I would suggest that the only way you can feed the sheep is with intentional love. There is not much emotion except occasionally. Then for you, obey God’s commandments because you love God. You want to love God. Makes a big difference, does it not?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen