How To Support A Growing Faith
Our journey in discipleship and generosity is one that we travel together, hand-in-hand. There are myriad reflections, devotions, and scriptural passages from the Bible on God’s generosity to us and our need to be generous to God. But, the experiences of friends from our community on being generous in all aspects of our life can be even more meaningful and inspiring.
Through varying publications of the Archangel, blog posts, and social media outlets, members of the Stewardship Committee will share insights, thoughts, and perspectives that have spoken to them. Ralph Cousins has contributed the following reflection. Enjoy! -Caroline
DO YOU LOVE ME?
"Simon son of John, do you love me?" Jesus asked.
"Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep."
At the end the Gospel of John the resurrected Jesus challenges Peter to pledge his loyalty. What an incredible scene! Jesus, who the Apostles now believe to be the Son of God, looks Peter in the eye and asks if Peter really loves him. Since Jesus had revealed himself to the Apostles several times, perhaps the novelty of seeing Jesus alive had passed. Peter seems to argue with Jesus. An incredulous Peter asks, “How can you doubt my love?” This is the same Peter that denied Jesus three times on Maundy Thursday. We know about Peter’s impetuosity and his eagerness to please. Of course, he will say that he loves Jesus. However, in usual fashion Peter misses the point.
If you love me tend my sheep. Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. Three times Jesus states that the test of Peter’s love is to serve and to be generous in this last-minute commissioning, Jesus tells Peter what is essential to ministry—love and service to Jesus’ lambs/sheep. In various versions of the Great Commission in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus charges the Apostles to be evangelists. In the Gospel of John, Jesus gives Peter a pastoral role.
So, what are we to make of this passage? First, of course, is how do we answer the question, “Do you love me?” How do you define love? How do you act out love? Can you love from the sidelines? Are we like Peter and miss the point?
We are called, challenged – even dared - to be disciples of Jesus. In the call of discipleship, we are called to give of ourselves through service to others and our community through our time, talent and treasure – to be generous in all things. Love is the one thing needed for Christian discipleship. How do you imitate Jesus?
Do you tend Jesus’ sheep?
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