Friday, January 21, 2011

Psalm 23:1

I've sent the Payne seminary students out to pray for an hour, using Psalm 23 as their meditative focus. Here are some thoughts I have about this deep text, which contains nearly all a person needs to know to live this life.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
  • 40% of the pastors and seminary students I have taught over the years do not get beyond this first verse, because God asks them the question: "Am I really your shepherd?" This is the foundational question of our life. Henri Nouwen asks the dsame question this way: "Who do you belong to?"
  • The Jesus-POV is this: I am a sheep; Jesus is my Shepherd.
  • Therefore, be shepherded.
  • This means: trusting Jesus. Trusting God. It's at this point that one must, logically, give up control.
  • It also means one will leave some things behind, since to follow after someone is to leave the place you were once at.
  • The shepherded sheep is not in a heart-condition of lack. As I make God my Shepherd, I am not in a place of wanting.
  • This means: My heart does not want. I've learned to be content in all circumstances.
  • This is not, for me, some theory, but an experiential reality. For the most part in my life, I feel led by God. He speaks to me; I, one of his sheep, hear his voice. As we have followed that voice Linda and I experience adventure and abundance. We often talk about this together. I would now not live my life any way other than to be shepherded by God!
  • Related to this, for me, is Paul's claim to have found the sevret of contentment irregardless of the circumstances. I want that so much! I have ecperienced some long, deep tastes of it. Circumstances will always change. I do not want to live life going up and down with life's circumstances.