A New Assignment
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)
“I’m going out to fish,” Peter said to the six other disciples with him (John 21:3 NIV).
“We’ll go with you,” they replied.
The disciples had seen the risen Christ twice (John 20:19–28). But he hadn’t given them specific assignments on either occasion. They grew restless in the uncertainty, so they returned to what they knew—fishing. All night they cast their nets into the water but caught no fish.
Early in the morning, a man called to them from the shore: “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” They obeyed and “were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish” (John 21: 6).
John then realized who had called to them, and he cried, “It is the Lord” (v. 7). Peter jumped into the water and waded to the shore. The other disciples followed in the boat.
After Jesus prepared and served the disciples breakfast, he addressed their spiritual hunger. They needed purpose, so he supplied it. They couldn’t go back to their former occupation and be satisfied. All of them, not just Peter, had to move forward in the mission Jesus gave them: “Feed my sheep.”
Like the disciples, I sometimes look for a specific assignment from God. When I don’t see one, I grow restless. The Holy Spirit then reminds me of Jesus’s words: “Feed my sheep.”
Every day my task is twofold: grow spiritually myself and encourage spiritual growth in the people God places in my path. I feed myself by spending time in prayer and Bible study. I feed others by using the gifts and skills God has given me in ways that edify them and glorify him. “Feed my sheep” can be anything from making a meal to preaching a sermon, from treating a salesclerk with kindness to writing a devotion.
Are you feeling restless—unsure of what God has called you to do? Ask him to reveal practical ways you can feed his sheep. Spend time in prayer and Bible study. Fellowship with other Christians at church and in small-group studies. Step out to serve and see how God uses your faithfulness for his glory.
Peter doesn’t stay focused on “feed my sheep” very long. Read John 21:20–22. What was his concern? What was Jesus’s reply? What is the lesson for us in that short conversation?
The Bible reveals many practical ways we can feed Jesus’s sheep. Read James 1:27 and Romans 12:9–21. What can you do this week to encourage others to grow spiritually?
Read 1 Peter 5:1–4. Peter is talking to church leaders in this passage, but we can all profit from his advice. What does he counsel them to do? Do you think he remembered his conversation with Jesus when he wrote these words? Why or why not?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of a series, Miracles of the Messiah.