"Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
The second instruction by Jesus is to tend my sheep. The Greek word for tend is poima,nate poimanate. In 1887 Vincent wrote concerning this word, "the verb denotes all that is included in the office of a shepherd – guiding, guarding, folding...."
The Lord tells us we must tend the sheep. Who are the sheep? Certainly it refers to those believers who are under our care. Phillip Keller was actually a shepherd. This is what he wrote about the shepherd’s responsibility of tending to his sheep, "He will go to no end of trouble and labor to supply them with the finest grazing, the richest pasturage, ample winter feed and clean water. He will spare himself no pains to provide shelter from storms, protection from ruthless enemies and the diseases and parasites to which sheep are so susceptible. ... From early dawn until late at night this utterly self-less shepherd is alert to the welfare of His flock. For the diligent sheepman rises early and goes out first thing every morning without fail to look over his flock. It is the initial, intimate contact of the day. With a practiced, searching, sympathetic eye he examines the sheep to see that they are fit and content and able to be on their feet. In an instant he can tell if they have been molested during the night – whether any are ill or if there are some which require special attention. Repeatedly throughout the day he casts his eye over the flock to make sure that all is well. Nor even at night is he oblivious to their needs. He sleeps as it were ‘with one eye and both ears open’ ready at the least sign of trouble to leap up and protect his own."
So let us not neglect our responsibility in caring for the family of God. We must be willing to minister to hurts, to encourage the disheartened, to pray for those who are sick, to help the needy, and to reach out to those who are drifting away. Let us never neglect the job that the Lord has given us to tend the sheep. We must not only care about them, but we must also take care of them. Image courtesy of Wee Forest Folk Collectibles so sweet