The 23rd Psalm is one of the most well-known passages in the Bible, and yet one that identifies an area we all have ... want.
Psalm 23:1 - "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Is it wrong to want? Should I have desires and dreams?
We spend our lives longing for things we cannot have and live disappointed on a regular basis. We are trying to fill the void in our lives with relationships, money, job status, possessions, prestige, all trying to satisfy the want, and to feel needed and accomplished.
You may have well experienced some time of prosperity, a loving relationship, or a place of great recognition, only to feel let down and empty again soon after the high.
Is it possible to have true fulfillment and get to a place of not wanting? Yes, there is a way. It may not be what you think it is.
Consider this. What does a shepherd do? He is a protector, from anything that would harm. A shepherd is a provider of places to feed and water. A shepherd is also familiar to the sheep, one who can be trusted, not just a hireling who is only interested in a paycheck, but would lay down his life for the sheep.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth ... he made man of the dust of the ground. God knows all of our needs; he made us, and gave us these needs. He also made everything to fill those needs.
If, in your workplace, you are supposed to fill the shelf with candy once it's low, and the candy supply is low, you tell the boss, "Hey, we're almost out," and it's his job to make sure it gets ordered and is available for you to stock. Once you have told him, you no longer worry because it's his place to get it. If it runs out, that is on him, not you.
God made us, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills, he determines if we have a wet year or a dry year, if it is sunny or cloudy. If God can control all that (and he does), can he not look after the daily, weekly, yearly and lifetime needs that we have?
The key is not in the getting of more, but in recognizing the great things we have to be thankful for already, like the ability to read today, to think and reason, and to love and laugh.
When I place my trust in the Lord, knowing He made me, He knows my needs, and I have asked Him to provide for my needs.
Psalm 84:11 - "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Then I can know the shepherd will see to the needs of His sheep. Hey, listen: God desires that we live a life of joy and contentment. That doesn't mean more stuff; that means more of Him.
Once I made Jesus the focus of my life, all the other areas of my life became so much more meaningful. I now understand my purpose and that is what is fulfilling; the want is removed. I pray you will make Jesus your shepherd today.
Eric Bortell is the pastor of First Baptist Church in John Day.