Posted by: nieophyte | March 21, 2008

Redemption Tales

She sat in the airport parking lot, waiting for her husband’s plane to land. Across the street, the prison in which she remained captive for several years pulsated with strobe lights and music. The women inside the strip club haunted her. Even though years ago she stopped stripping, found Christ, started her healing process from years of abuse, and rediscovered true love—she knew her road to redemption was far from over. It was time to help other women get out and find healing too. She could not deny Christ’s calling. “If you love me, feed my sheep.” 

He walked the aisles of his cabinet-making factory watching his employees cut, measure and trim cabinets to be shipped all over the United States. Success. He had achieved it. But rather than make him straighten his posture with pride, it turned his stomach. He had just returned from serving a 40-day internship in Brooklyn, NY, during which he ministered to children fighting tooth and nail to survive inner-city life, and now the sound of children playing in the projects across the street from his factory buzzed to a deafening cry. He could not deny Christ’s calling. “If you love me, feed my sheep.” 

Calm filled her living room, as she thought about life as an empty-nester. Her last “baby,” now a mature 18-year-old, was gearing up to go to college and soon, her house would be even quieter. Maybe I’ll vacation for a while. Or maybe Rick and I will travel the world and speak at pastor’s conferences until we retire. All worthy and well-deserved aspirations for the woman who co-labored to make Saddleback Church what it is today. Without a thought, she grabbed her recent issue of Time Magazine and opened to a feature spread about the mounting global AIDS crisis. The eyes of widows and orphans, their lives decimated by this disease, confronted her in every photo. In a second, she adopted them all. Her vacations would have to wait, for there was work to be done. She could not deny Christ’s calling. “If you love me, feed my sheep.” 

As an aerospace engineer, he lived a steady life. But a sudden and disturbing request rocked him out of his comforts. Live on the streets with the homeless, Christ said to him. For years, like a modern-day Jonah he answered, No. But in an interview yesterday, he told me that eventually, the calling became so strong that he could no longer deny it. “To deny the calling would be to deny Christ,” he said. Today, he lives in a rescue mission, sharing a home and breaking bread with the poor and disenfranchised people of San Diego. He fights the city for their rights, depends on donations for their sustenance and works hard every day to keep the mission going. But he is happier than he’s ever been. He could not deny Christ’s calling. “If you love me, feed my sheep.” 

Hope you have an inspiring Easter.






  1. It bears the heavy responsibility, but incredible delight and adventure, in knowing what God has done through the people who just wouldn’t deny the calling to be a sheep-feeder.

    Thank you for this. May we all ultimately de-emphasize grandiose analysis and “insight”, and spend more time saying yes to Jesus’s call.

  2. Amen and amen, dear sister.

    Help me to understand feeding sheep isn’t a chore or a job, but a way of being in line with the mysteries of Jesus’ love.

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