Sunday, May 29, 2016

Feed My Sheep

(Occasionally I am asked to give a talk in Stake Conference.  With my limited Italian, it's quite a task, but the Assistants are always very kind and help me translate it and the Italian people are very kind and listen to me read it.)

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Feed My Sheep

I would like to talk to you today about sheep.  Let me begin by talking about shepherds.  A shepherd takes care of his sheep.  The sheep know his voice and follow where he leads them. 

A good shepherd does not herd the sheep from behind but walks in front of them to show them where they should go.  A good shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures where they find good grass to eat and water to drink.  At night he leads them back to the sheepfold where the sheep are safe from wild animals and thieves.  A good shepherd stands guard at the entrance to the sheepfold and protects his sheep.  He counts his sheep to make sure that not one is lost.  In the morning he calls to his sheep.  They recognize his voice and follow him.

John 10:14-15
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep,
and am known of mine. …

I lay down my life for my sheep.

How do we become the Savior’s sheep?  The Lord said:

Mosiah 26:21
“He that will hear my voice shall be my sheep.”

A few months ago we were driving down the road in Sardegna.  I saw a flock of sheep in a pasture along the side of the road.  They were spread all over the field with a shepherd nearby.  I asked President Waddoups to stop the car so I could take a picture.  He pulled to the side of the road and I jumped out of the car ready to snap a picture.  As soon as I jumped out of the car, the shepherd must have thought I presented some sort of danger because he suddenly issued a one word command and every lamb in that field immediately stopped grazing and lined up in a single file line next to the shepherd.  It was amazing.  I have never seen anything like it. 

Realizing I was responsible for the commotion, I called to the shepherd and asked if I could take a photo.  He must have sensed I was no threat at that point and told me I could take a picture.  Every lamb in that field had recognized the call of the shepherd, and every lamb followed the command to get in line so they could be protected by their shepherd.  The shepherd wasted no time calling them to safety.  He was protecting his sheep.

After Christ was crucified, he reappeared to his disciples who were fishing and having no luck at all.  He instructed them to cast their net on the other side of the boat.  When they did as he instructed, the net was full of fish.  Jesus then sat down and had a meal of fish with the disciples.  When they were through eating, Jesus had a very poignant conversation with Peter.

John 21:15-17
15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?
 He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas,
 lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me?
Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time,
 Lovest thou me? And he said unto him,
 Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
 Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

A month ago during General Conference, we listened to Christ’s living apostles who told us many things that will help keep us safe.  At this Stake Conference, you will hear even more messages.  I encourage you to follow their counsel.  Like the Good Shepherd, they are protecting you and leading you to green pastures.  Like Peter, they have been asked to "Feed my sheep".  If we follow their counsel, we will be protected.

I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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