What does the Bible have to say about wealth, budgeting, business, saving and investing? A lot. At the end of each week, I'd like to look at a verse concerning our heart posture towards God and money. We'll examine how the verse addresses the practical issues of life, as well as our mindset on the gift of money God has given us. Ultimately, we should see Jesus.
Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." So much is said in this verse from David. Let's start the way the Psalmist starts, with The Lord.
This is refreshing as well as a reminder that our stories start with The Lord. He is the one who is our provider and provision. In a culture where we are constantly told to look at ourselves for the source of our fulfillment and the strength to solve our problems, David lovingly shows that we have it all wrong. It starts with The Lord. Since it starts with The Lord, we are also reminded that we need to realize that He is the owner, and we are stewards of His resources. We can find comfort in The Lord, my shepherd, who loves me beyond my comprehension.
Next, after finding comfort in the Author of our very being, we can know with certainty that The Lord is my shepherd.First, he is presently my shepherd and will continue to be my shepherd. It's not he "was" or "will be", He is. In any circumstance, we have the assurance that He is there. We may have lost sight of him, but He hasn't forsaken us. Not only is He there, He is mine. We are His sheep, His possession and treasure, but He is ours as well. This shows an intimacy of relationship. He is ours because He has been made known to us. He is beautiful, wonderful, and we can grow in deeper love for Him because He is personal. As our shepherd, he cares deeply for our needs, leading us to still waters and restoring our soul. Sheep need to completely rely on their shepherd in order to survive. They need to trust in the direction their shepherd leads them if they are to find refreshment and nourishment. We are sheep with no direction, but we have a shepherd we can put our full faith in. We must trust him, because we can't find our way towards refreshment without Him!
Finally, David ends this verse with "I shall not want". I think its interesting that David uses the present tense to describe the Lord's role as our shepherd, but the future tense for our response as sheep. I think we are always fighting to see the Lord as our shepherd. When we don't see him as most desirable, as the good and faithful Shepherd, we can easily find our security in ourselves or our possessions. When we see Jesus as our provider and provision, our deepest want, then the longings and offerings of this world can be considered rubbish when compared to having Jesus as ours. We strive towards "not wanting", or contentment, by seeing Jesus as our greatest need and, most importantly, want. I think it's also interesting that David doesn't say anything about our needs. A good shepherd is already providing for the needs of the flock. The Lord is generous, and doesn't simply address our needs, but satisfies our deepest desires as well. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, demonstrates that our contentment can only be sustained by him.
What does this have to do with personal finance? Well, it's easy to covet and be envious of what we don't have. This verse is all about contentment, and being satisfied in and with Jesus. As faithful stewards, we're charged with managing what has been given to us, and not with micromanaging what others have been given.When we are most satisfied in Jesus we can be content.