Feed My Sheep


Many years ago I took an Old Testament class given by my pastor. We studied one book of the Old Testament per week, and it took a year to get through the Old Testament. I turned in Charlotte Mason summaries for each book of the Bible as it was presented. (Right before I took this class, I had read the six Charlotte Mason books and was enthralled with the idea of written narrations for personal Bible study.) I tried to think of every detail I could remember from each book, and I wrote it down in tiny print in pencil on blank sheets of paper.

Well, study for the class took between 2 to 10 hours a day. (Ten hours only happened once, the day I did Genesis.) I loved splashing into the Word of God and surrounding myself with it. It was my food and my breath. I felt like I was inside the stories.

When the class was over, I asked my pastor to please hand back my papers, because those were my only copies. He said the reason he kept them was so that his secretary would type them up for him, because the summaries gave him a fresh perspective on Scripture. I was honored that a pastor could actually learn anything from me.

After that last class was over, I heard a sermon on prayer. I realized that my prayer life was almost non-existent, and I committed to God that I would learn how to pray. Since I already had at least 2 hours for studying the Bible (usually during nap time for my tiny kids, or during an hour of outdoor play time where I would study my Bible outside on a swing or blanket), I decided that I would set aside one hour to pray before I would be allowed to read the Bible. (You can see how hard that was by reading “The Beginning of a Prayer Warrior.”)

After the month was over, I had no obligations, but I had built a new spiritual discipline into my life, and I considered it highly valuable. Well, my godly mentor rebuked me one day for spending too much time in the Word of God. I needed to spend more time being “present” with my children. She was right.

As I drove alone in the car one day to run an errand, I asked God, “So how much time do You want me to spend in Bible study?” I opened my heart to God and expected an answer. I heard (it was not audible, but an impression on my mind), “Do you love Me?” I said, “What the heck. That’s not an answer.” Then I heard it again, “Do you love Me?” “Of course I love You, Lord. What a ridiculous question.” Again I heard, “Do you love Me?” By this time I was nearly in tears. I was hurt. How on earth could He ask me if I loved Him? And then the words came, “Feed My sheep.” I sat there stunned. The Holy Spirit had confirmed what my godly mentor had said. What I needed to do was abide, and spend more time imparting to the children what I already knew. Yes, I would spend time in the Word, but that was no longer my focus. My focus was to pour the Word of God into my children.

At that point, when I studied the Word of God, it was to prepare to teach my children. (God taught me personally from what I was preparing for my children.) Many years passed this way before God gave me permission to study the Word of God for myself again.

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6 Responses to “Feed My Sheep”

  1. Malea says:

    What a lovely post, and such a wonderful perspective. I love that “Feed my sheep.” What a moment of awe and love that must have put in your heart.

    I also love that your pastor said he thought he could learn something from you. Too often our teachers, leaders, bosses, etc think they can only impart wisdom, and are closed to receiving it as well. The best people in the world, IMO, are the ones willing to do both. When we teach, we must also be open to learning. I learn so much from my students (both the formal and informal ones!) everyday. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

  2. Debbie says:

    Excellent post!!
    I recently shared with a bunch of moms with little kids there is no commandment in the Bible saying , “Thou shalt have one hour of Bible and prayer each morning.” I think young weary moms often feel such a burden and condemnation if unable to do that – very hard in the season of nursing babes and toddlers. But to rather get sprinkles of the Word and prayer throughout their day rather than a huge flood every morning or not getting it and feeling defeated because your little one got up early that morning. There is an excellent chapter in the book “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God” that deals with your subject and mine.
    Thanks for your continued encouragement and I know your mentor and she is a very wise lady 😉

  3. JoAnn Smith says:

    I enjoyed your article. I’m so proud to know you. Keep up the good work and good writing.

    Love, Aunt JoAnn

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