“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” (Psalm 23:6)
A funny story is told about a child who misheard this verse read in church and asked, “Who is good Mrs. Murphy and why is she following me around every day?”
Actually, this entire psalm is meant to clarify mishearing about God. Using a well-known “Shepherd” archetype common in Greek and Roman mythology, the 23’rd psalmist advances the theological truth about our relationship with God and gives comfort about our place and role in the universe.
As we know, a Shepherd isn’t just someone who enjoys frolicking in the fields with a lot of fluffy, funny animals. Rather, the Shepherd has a purposeful role in the protection, growth, and care of these animals. Ultimately, the mission of the Shepherd is to raise a flock to be a blessing for the community that need the sheep to sustain them.
Likewise, God tends to us throughout our lives in a good and merciful “Shepherding” pattern with purpose and intention. As we “sheep” move beyond Lifespring’s “breather month” and into the chaos of unknown days ahead, we are not unknown. We are not unattended. We are being followed by God’s goodness and mercy. We are being sheltered in His pastures. This is how life is for a sheep with her Shepherd. This is how it is intended for us all the days of our lives with God.
Questions to ponder:
- Consider: What “Water and Grass” is God leading you to for nourishment in this season of your life?
- Consider: What “wool” do you have to offer to your community?
- Pray with your imagination: Picture yourself as a sheep with a shepherd: The Shepherd sits down in the field. You jump into her arms. She looks fondly upon you. She cradles you and you nuzzle noses. Then she speaks and says “you are one of my special cherished sheep, what Shepherding do you need today?” Respond to your Shepherd with your needs
Prayer of response:
Lord, what still waters are you leading me to today? In what green pastures will you have me be nourished? Help me not to miss one good or merciful action that You direct toward my care this week. And help me to offer myself more freely to my community as you my Shepherd have designed me to do. Amen.
—Submitted by Janice GutierrezJanice Gutierrez currently serves as the unofficial head cheerleader for Lifesprings International from her home in Northern California. She’s busy figuring out what “selah” means, how to be retired, how to finish writing a book, and how to get more people enticed to play a game of Wingspan. She’s looking forward to being a teacher at LSM Lyon next year, hopefully in person!