Sermon Bonus – I Shall Not Want

When I write a sermon, there’s always a few little notes that I have to cut. This probably doesn’t come as a shock to you, but I can be a little wordy, so I end up leaving behind a few ideas that I simply don’t have time for.

One note from this last Sunday had to do with the first verse of Psalm 23. It’s such a simple statement, and yet it carries with it a challenge. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” In nine words, it lays out God’s role as well as our own.

He is the shepherd. As we talked about on Sunday, the core of the metaphor is about leading—no matter where we might wander, our shepherd goes before us, guiding and protecting. And that creates a logical relationship with our role, as it is laid out in this verse. Because of the loving care of the shepherd, we shall not want.

Can I just say, though, that I still do want. I want a lot. Some desires are big and ‘important’, but I also desire little, vain things that I think will make me happy. Case in point: I spent probably three hours last week looking at online reviews of different notebooks before finally ordering a couple. I felt so satisfied when that Amazon package showed up and then I took them into my office where I have maybe thirty unused notebooks that students have given to me as gifts over the years.

Now, we are no longer in the season of Lent, so this isn’t about willful denial of desire or fasting in order to create an empty space within our lives for Christ to fill. But even during the feast days of Easter we ought to look to our wants. If Christ is our Good Shepherd, then we have been freed from the itching after some next, new thing. It is no longer your job to see to your happiness; in fact, the history of all our lives will show us that we aren’t very good at being simultaneous sheep and shepherds. Instead, take joy in following the call of your shepherd. Look again at Psalm 23—we are well cared for, we want for nothing!

This week, take comfort in the shepherd who leads you, who provides for you, who loves you.