Reading the words that Jesus said to Peter in John 21 has always made me thing that Jesus was telling us that we needed to feed each other with his words. I guess that I have always thought this because - it is what I was taught. I don't ever remember hearing a lesson about acutally feeding people - food, you know the stuff that helps us stay alive. I don't know why it had never occured to me that Jesus may have actually meant what he said - "Peter, feed my lambs", "Peter, take care of my sheep", "Peter, feed my sheep!". I mean- we like to take the words that Jesus spoke as what he meant so why not the words that he spoke to Peter?
I think that I've never thought about these words as a charge to go out and feed people is that I am surrounded by people that are never really hungry. Working in Central America has really opened my eyes to the fact that there really aren't any truly hungry people in the USA. We don't have a population of people that go to bed hungry and wake up the same way. People that spend their lives looking for something to eat. We don't have mothers that are desperate to find food for their baby. We don't have families that decide that they will stop feeding the younger two or three kids so that the rest of the family can have a little more. We aren't in a country that has a generation of malnourished kids that are stunted in their growth and their mental devolepment.
I started thinking about this last week on an airplane while reading the USA Today. I was reading an article where the author said "I've never gone to bed hungry". That statement made me stop reading and start thinking about the power of the words. I HAVE NEVER GONE TO BED HUNGRY... Added to that, until my work in Honduras, I had never personally known anyone that had ever truly gone to bed hungry. Someone that had nothing in the house to eat and not much of any chance that there would be anything there the next day. True hunger is something that I have never known. Yes, I can take you to it, show it to you and introduce you to people that are living right smack in the middle of it - but, I've never "been there, done that".
FEED MY LAMBS, TAKE CARE OF MY SHEEP, FEED MY SHEEP!
Yes, these words that Jesus spoke to Peter - and to me are easily read more than one way. One day I will be able to ask Jesus how he meant them. In the mean time, I am reading them both ways and believe that helping to take care of the physical feeding will open the door to spiritual feeding.