As I was in the process of discerning whether the Lord was calling me back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree or to become a full-time missionary with Life Teen, I traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida to visit my sister, my brother-in-law, and my precious niece and nephew. I’ve always enjoyed visiting there. I spent my college years in that city, and it brings back many wonderful memories, not to mention the fact that the beach is no more than a ten minute drive. My sister and I attended a Dave Matthews Band concert together, took the little ones to the beach, and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
On Sunday morning of my visit, I was sitting with my sister sipping coffee and discussing some of our favorite topics. My 3-year-old nephew, Jacob, was sitting quietly playing his favorite game, cars and trucks. Jacob looked up from his game and said, “Aunt Callie?” I stopped my conversation with my sister and looked up from my cup of coffee and said, “Yes pumpkin?” He looked at me with his big eyes and asked, “Aunt Callie, do you love me?” I’m fairly certain my heart melted right then and there! “Of course Jacob!! I love you so much!!” was my immediate response. Jacob said a simple, “Okay,” and went back to playing his game.
After I said my goodbyes and thanked them for a wonderful visit, I got in my car, put on my favorite playlist, and began the three-hour drive home. I began thinking of the great weekend that I just had, but my heart turned towards the question, “Do you love me?” At first, my thoughts were on my sweet, precious nephew and his need to know that his Aunt Callie loved him, to know that he was cared for, that I would be there for him. What child wouldn’t want that comfort and knowledge?
But as I drove on, the question remained, “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?” It finally hit me that this was the question that Jesus had asked Peter after His resurrection in John 21. Jesus appeared to His disciples for the second time on a shore. The disciples were on a boat fishing, and Peter, so overcome with joy, leapt from the boat and swam to shore. After sharing a meal with the disciples, Jesus turned to Peter and asked, “Do you love me?” Peter’s response was immediate, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Peter responded again, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to Peter, “Tend my sheep.” A third time, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” At this point, Peter was grieved because Jesus had asked him three times and responded to Jesus, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” And a few verses later Jesus called his disciples, saying, “Follow me.”
So there I was sitting in my car, thinking of this scripture and Jesus began to ask me, “Callie, do you love me? Callie, will you feed my sheep? Callie, will you tend to my flock?” And it struck me that complacency was no longer an option, that I could no longer be casual about my faith. That I could no longer sit in the boat in my comfort zone, or just have one foot in the boat and one in the water, I had to jump out and swim. I had to take that leap of faith and trust in His plan for my life. He was calling me, asking me to follow Him, and I had to answer.
God is calling all of us, beckoning us to love Him, to sit at His feet, to find rest and peace in His presence, but He is also calling us to feed His lambs and tend to His sheep. He is calling us to be His hands and feet here on earth, to show His love to the world and to spread His word among the nations.
I’m not saying that everyone is called to be a Life Teen missionary, but what I am saying is that we are all called to missions, in our homes, schools, and work place. We are called to spread the Good News, to jump out of the boat and swim towards Christ.
My question for you is this, what will your answer be when Christ asks you, “Do you love me?”