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As I have been preparing for the “Biblical Eldership” class my heart has been very stirred by the charge of Peter to the elders of the churches scattered throughout Asia Minor.

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 1 Peter 5:1-4 NIV

I wonder if Peter was reminiscing over the following incident as he wrote those words to the elders – the ones to whom he was leaving the care of Christ’s flock.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he 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. John 21:15-17NIV

What particularly has caught my attention are the words, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care…” I have been asking God to give me (and all of us) a true shepherd’s heart – and to help me (us) understand just what it means to be a shepherd – to grant me (us) a heart that truly cares for His lambs.

– Loren Warkentin