October 11, 2012

Caring for My Flock -- Sharon Espeseth

"Care for the flock God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly--not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God." 1 Peter 5:2

As Christians we all have flocks God has entrusted to us. Your flock might be the people you work with, the class you teach, your neighbours, a writing group you lead, a catechism class, people you serve in your business. The list is endless, but sometimes we miss the obvious. What about our spouses and our families?

Today was my 89-year-old aunt’s funeral. Ruth was her name. She was a lovely lady, a faithful Christian, who had a flock of nieces, nephews, siblings, and friends of all ages. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, but she and her husband Gordon had no children of their own.

Three of us nieces were asked to prepare tributes to Ruth for the funeral service. Speaking on behalf of my sisters, I shared what Ruth meant to us.

After lunch, the mic was open. Other family and friends shared stories of how Ruth had looked after them. She watched over her flock willingly, not grudgingly—not for what she would get out of doing so, but because she was eager to serve God.

Another interesting observation was made repeatedly and that was how well Ruth and Gordon looked after and served one another. They didn’t take each other for granted. For me, one of the take-aways from the celebration of Ruth’s life was the reminder to care for my flock. Our adult children and their spouses, the grandkids, and last but not least my husband Hank are a good part of my flock. That is not to say this is my entire flock, but they are a core part that, I believe, God would not want me to neglect.

Hank, the man I married, may get scared off by a Wine & Cheese & Poetry evening, but he supports me in my life and in my writing. He protects me even from myself. When I take on too many commitments, he reminds me that I might be overdoing it. He knows I don’t do well when things pile up. I am thankful for my husband in many ways, and I need to let him know this more often.

Marriage is a sacrament or blessing, but commitment is required. If I get too busy with other things, I may not be looking after my flock as well as I should be. I believe Ruth and Gordon lived a testament to God in showing their love for one another and caring for each other. They also looked after the flock God had presented to them.



  1. Sharon, thanks for sharing. It's easy to take those closest to us for granted instead of giving them the time and attention they need. I like the saying, "You've chosen your love; now love your choice."

  2. I thought of my English class when you said 'flock'. I never thought of them that way before. This is a good challenge. Thanks Sharon!

  3. Beautiful, Sharon! What a wonderful reminder. I'm well blessed with my own hubby as he is ever mindful of my needs and desires, as I also endeavour to be aware of his.

  4. Thanks, Ruth, Pam and Brenda for your fitting comments. I like your saying, Ruth. I don't recall hearing that before. I guess we don't think in terms of flock so much these days, but maybe now we will.

    Thanks for the help, Brenda, on fixing my post.

  5. Thanks Sharon. I especially noted that your husband reminds you not to over commit... mine does too, but I don't always listen.

  6. I don't always listen either, Tracy, BUT the longer we are together the more I realize he often does have a valid point. Now understanding this, I am inclined to value what he says to a greater degree. It's called self-care.

  7. Your aunt reminds me very much of my grandmother. How I miss her! You brought to mind that when loved ones like this pass away, there's flocks that are left without shepherds. We who are still here have a hole to fill that might mean expanding our flocks.

  8. I agree with you, Tammy, about our flocks growing as the older generations passes. In my family, my sisters and I are becoming the older generation. We need to be mindful of the flock our elders leave for us.

    Yes, sometimes we yearn to talk to our grandparents or parents who have gone on ahead of us, but it so much easier to go the funeral of someone who also trusted in God. Do you know the old hymn, "When we all get to heaven. . . "?


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