“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.”
A Question of Want
Humans have a natural propensity for want. It seems to have nothing to do with what we have, we just want more. Look at most any person’s closet or pantry, and you will find an ample amount of just about everything you can imagine. When it comes to clothing, you won’t find just one coat, you will find at least four coats. You won’t find a shirt for each day of the week. You will find a shirt for almost every day of the month. I am speaking here primarily of American culture, where there seems to be an abundance of everything.
Yet, in such an abundant culture, we still want more. It doesn’t seem to matter that we have plenty of food on hand, or more than enough clothes. When we see a “good buy” on something, we want it, and we get it. This is true of just about every item we can imagine in our homes. In such a culture of abundance, can we really identify with the Psalmist who says… “I shall not want”?
The psalmist speaks of how the Lord, his “Good Shepherd”, supplies all he will ever need. He speaks primarily of spiritual needs; rest, quiet, comfort, and release from fear. Yet, he also speaks of being fed by the Shepherd at a great banquet table, and receiving an anointing that overflows in his life.
The Realization of Lent
During the season of Lent, I’m always convicted of how “rich” I truly am. Even as I try to go without some things in my practice of self-denial, I still find my self not really identifying with true need or hunger. By American income standards, I’m definitely not part of the upper income bracket, but yet, I am rich.
Are you rich? Do you realize it? If we know the love of God, we are truly rich. He will supply our every need. The real key to the spiritual life is learning how to detach from the material things of our overloaded, consumerism that tempts me to forget to rely on my “Good Shepherd”.
The truth is, we think we’re in need, when we really should be satisfied. We think we’re alive when we’re really dead. The only way to say with the Psalmist, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, is to daily realize, as we do at the beginning of Lent, that we are dust, and to dust we will one day return. Until then, our Shepherd is faithful each day to supply all our needs, as He raises us from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”