A professor from a developing nation asked my class what
would happen if we lived into a “theology of enough.”
Since coming to the United States, he had noticed that American
Christians were often infected with the economically driven
(unconscious) theology of needing, expecting, and striving for
more. More of whatever! And to this, young David, son of Jesse
and the least likely of his many older brothers to amount to anything
(we now celebrate him as composer of this psalm), sings
joyfully that his God supplies all he needs. He is not in want,
even if he holds a job on the bottom of the career ladder, like
tending sheep. This God, like an effective shepherd, provides
tender care and enough.
The divine shepherd of this psalm knows the landscape,
knows where to find green fields and in which season, knows
where to locate mountain brooks and the still pools just below
the rocky rapids. In these places, the shepherd nourishes and
safely waters the flock. This kind of shepherd is worthy of a
deep, abiding trust. This shepherd knows the territory better
than my GPS! In places with no maps, we are led to trust this
Holy One who sees ahead and provisions our journey.
Our Creator, who leads us beyond fearful striving, invites
us into a deepening trust. Can we pause for rest that restores
our souls? My Jewish friends have helped me understand that
sabbath involves more than simply stopping the work of my
week. The joyful sharing of food, drink, and fellowship characterizes
sabbath. Abundance is more than counting the places at
the table; it is about sharing what we do have and discovering a
deeper form of abundance and delight. Will you and I discover
that sabbath offers a way to the joy of enough?
God, from what would you lead me to pause this week when my loved ones and I practice sabbath rest?
Three of the texts use the image of shepherd and sheep. Psalm 23 and John 10 picture the familiar relationship of trust that sheep exhibit toward the shep- herd. The shepherd places himself between the dependent sheep and the aggressive enemy to ward off destruction and exploitation. John 10 and 1 Peter 2 introduce the costly price paid for protection. The sheep’s safety comes with immense and undeserved sacrifice. In 1 Peter 2, the shepherd’s sacrifice makes possible the return of wayward sheep who have wandered away from the shepherd’s protection.
• Read Acts 2:42-47. How has joining with other believers in prayer, fellowship, and study strengthened your faith?
• Read Psalm 23. What narrow passages of life have you navigated? Upon whom did you depend during that time?
• Read 1 Peter 2:19-25. When have you encountered unjust suffering? What redemptive value did it hold for you?
• Read John 10:1-10. “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved.” How have you allowed Jesus to be the gate to your discipleship?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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