“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.Thus is the man blessedwho fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel (Psalm 128:1-6).”
The doctor asked me how I was adjusting to the medicine he had prescribed two weeks earlier to combat my newly discovered leukemia. I told him I had had no real side effects from it.
He then said,”Let me go check your blood count.” He left and then returned.
He came back with a smile on his face and told me the numbers. I was heading toward remission of the cancer cells in my blood.
I told him,”That’s great news.” And it was!
On this new day I am reflecting on what all this means. What it doesn’t mean is that I should go back to business as usual.
I feel like a man who has had a near death experience and been brought back from the dead. In many cases, the people who have these encounters turn over a new lead.
That’s what I want to do. Just because the potential of a grave in my near future has been diminished doesn’t imply that I should go back to being the old “me”.
Peter didn’t have a near death experience, but he did encounter a man who he had assumed to be dead. This man, Jesus, had led him on a three-year life changing whirlwhind. But he had just been executed by the government.
Amazingly, he met Jesus on the seashore one morning shortly after his death. He got so excited he jumped from the boat where he had been fishing into the water.
What Peter had expected was that life would return to its old routine since Jesus had died. He would go back to his trade,fishing, and make a living.
But here Jesus was, standing in front of him. Peter knew his friend, and knew he had something to say. Usually Jesus did. After all, He was a teacher.
Sure enough, Jesus prodded Peter’s thinking. He asked Peter if he loved his fishing more than Him.
Peter was hurt by this question. How could Jesus possibly think that? Peter was thrilled his friend and leader had returned from the dead.
However, Jesus’s line of questioning was meant to show Peter the implications of the resurrection. Peter could no longer be the same, and go back to his own life.
Peter’s task? “Feed my lambs. Take care of and feed my sheep”, Jesus said (John 21:4-17).
Jesus told Peter he had a new career. He was going to be a fisherman anymore. He was going to be a shepherd, but not the kind you would think.
Peter’s new occupation wasn’t involved with walking around a pasture with a staff poking and woolly animals. His task was now to nurture Jesus’s people.
Peter had failed Jesus earlier in the biggest crisis of his life. When Jesus was arrested and put on trial, Peter had abandoned Him.
Peter had to be walking around with a whole lot of guilt that morning on the seashore. Seeing a living Jesus must have removed a lot of it.
But Jesus wanted more out of his friend. He wanted His full service, his full time, his total life from here on out. There was to be no more waffling.
One day, Jesus told Peter, he was going to grow old and then experience a death similar to his own. But in the meantime, Jesus said to Peter, “FOLLOW ME!”.
Jesus in effect said to him,”Do you get it, Peter?! FOLLOW ME!”.
I think Jesus is asking me the same question. He has given me another chance to revive my moribund life.
But I don’t think His plan is for me to go back pursuing health, wealth and fame. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with these things, except ultimately they are selfish ambitions.
My proclivity for selfishness has astounded me in my recent life. I have been extremely dense in terms of understanding it.
I don’t believe I am to remain the same in my relationship to my own welfare. I believe I am supposed to forget about it and start thinking about that of others, beginning with my own loved ones.
But my love isn’t to stop there. Jesus is saying to me,”Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs.”
I don’t know the details as to who and how at this point, but one thing I do know is this: Jesus is saying,”Follow me 100 percent. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Yes, Lord. I’ll be your instrument.