Feed My Sheep


Matt Joldersma, Lake Wales, Florida

iStock_000006935986XSmallIt says “pastor” on many of our business cards, our more official emails, next to our pictures on one online profile or another. Pastor. It’s the Latin word for shepherd. Youth pastors intuitively sense that parallel between youth ministry and working with animals. Sometimes. On occasion. Well, it’s a hungry bunch anyhow.

Psalm 23 depicts our LORD as shepherd: a sheep-pastor. Solely responsible for the well being of his sheep he leads them beside quiet waters, makes them lie down in green pastures, even comforts them in the valley of the shadow of death with his rod and staff. In all situations, in the good and in the bad–though it sounds a bit cliché–he is there for them.

A pastor doesn’t just direct. There’s a word for people who do that too: director. A pastor leads while accompanying those in his care.

September has many of us youth pastors looking over various fields and pathways available to our sheep in the upcoming year, though many of them are the small utilitarian white fields of budget spreadsheets and the calendars. An almost daily (junk)mail parade of camps, concerts, conferences, celebrations, ceremonies and commitments clamor for their place before the sheep.

Some are shiny. Some are somber. Some gently hint at things. Others brazenly promise them. Some beg. Some beckon. Some don’t. Some do.

“What will feed my sheep?” is the pastor’s primary question.

It isn’t,

“What can we afford?”

“What do we have time for?”

“What do they want?”

So, how does the 30 Hour Famine fare in the benevolently raucous fray? Especially when the budget is tight and tightening? Especially when the calendar is already twice-full?

We should consider the 30 Hour Famine in light of Jesus’ words to Peter, “Do you love me?  Then feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)

Then my questions give way to faith-laden, love-of-Jesus statements,

“We will give.”

“We will make time.”

“We will obey.”

It might cost us a camp. It might cost us a conference. But by grace through faith I believe that via the 30 Hour Famine my* sheep will be fed as they go hungry while those who go hungry will be fed.

Do the Famine.