The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17 NIV)With so little time available at hand to do so many things, I am frequently left with very little time to engage in conversation with my friends and family members. This, I know, is not good or helpful in caring for others and in bringing others to Christ.
A heart to heart conversation is so important when it comes to expressing care, and although there are many ways of communicating across a message today, nothing beats a personal conversation with another. This is because a conversation face to face requires presence, and presence means taking time to communicate with each other. We may be able to get connected with someone via phone call, email, instant messaging or social network, but we cannot read the other person's state of mind unless we are engaged in conversation face to face.
In the Bible, we read about what the apostle Peter did after he denied Jesus three times. He was deeply grieved (Luke 22:56-62), and it was not long before he went back to his former trade as a fisherman (John 21:1). When Jesus appeared at the shore, however, Peter was quick to jump into the water and get to shore to meet Him (John 21:7). After the disciples had finished eating breakfast of bread and fish, Jesus conversed with Simon Peter (John 21:15-17 NIV).
"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time He said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
The conversation between Jesus and Peter shows the kind of heart to heart talk that engages one to become stirred up from within, leading to repentance, forgiveness and restoration. It is the kind of conversation we can engage in to lead others to Christ—a conversation for action. If we genuinely care for someone, we will want to spend time and engage in conversation with that person.
In bringing others to the Lord, therefore, let us find time to converse with others and tell them how we feel and what the Lord has done for us. It is through such witness, the sharing of thoughts and feelings, that people will know we are speaking from our hearts, not just telling them about Jesus in order to group them into the Christian faith. Like Simon Peter who responded to the Lord in confessing his love, let us also express the love we have for others by speaking from our hearts that they may desire to know more about Christ and His love. In similar ways, we can also nurture the young in faith—the lambs and sheep—by feeding and taking care of them, while at the same time restore the backslidden by redirecting them back to the right path.
Thank You, dear Lord, for showing us how we should engage in conversation to restore a soul. Grant us Lord the wisdom and sensitivity to the leading of Your Holy Spirit in knowing how we should converse with another. Forgive us Lord for the many times we fail to spend time with our friends and family to engage in heart to heart conversations. Create in us Lord the desire to care for Your sheep, the ones that have been saved and the ones that have yet to be saved. Renew us Lord in Your love, and restore to us the burning desire to be fishers of men, not just to group the unsaved into the fold, but also to feed the saved in helping them grow in spiritual maturity.
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