Over the course of the past few years I have been trying to be more purposeful in living a more abundant life. It started with my daily grateful list as a reminder of the simple blessings I receive and often take for granted. Those lists have truly kept life in perspective, but just this week I asked myself… “What does it mean to TRULY live abundantly?”
In response, my father’s voice took me to a familiar passage, the 23rd Psalm. You know it, right? The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…We use it so much that its true meaning has become muddled. We believe that if we do what we feel is the right thing (for the most part) then God will bless us with the Lexus, the mansion, the Louis Collection, and the luxurious vacation. Then…why do the very ones with everything feel so empty? We have all been bamboozled into believing that having a plethora of shiny, name brand things is living abundantly. Wrong. Just wrong. Living abundantly means FIRST, recognizing what REALLY MATTERS and SECONDLY, inviting an overflow of those meaningful things into our lives. Therefore, I am already living an abundant life.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…for rest. Why? He’ll make me lie down in green pastures. I used to think this meant that God was going to create a comfortable place for me to sleep. But now that I am always so busy and can pretty much sleep anywhere, I believe this rest equates to peace. There are times when I am up all night, tired, and fidgety, but it’s been a long time since I fell out of touch with peace. I know with everything in me, that God has it all under control. My spirit rests easy even when my body does not. I shall not want for peace.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…for refreshment. After all is said and done, He’s going to lead me to still waters. This is kind of a big deal. Sheep do not like rushing water. A good shepherd will dam off part of a running stream to create a calm pool, or guide his flock to tranquil waters in order for them to drink. You may be feeling thirst at this moment in your life, but God is going to lead you to a place where you can drink freely of living waters.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…for restoration. No matter how many times I feel broken, God is going to restore my soul. He’s not just going to restore me, He’s going to reinstate me into a right relationship with His purpose for my life. I love this about God. When I think about restoration, I think of art. Persons who work at restoration mend or renovate artworks that may have sustained damage or decay. These skilled hands attempt to return such objects to something resembling their original appearance. We are His Handiwork and before we were knit in our mother’s womb, He had a Purpose for our lives. Life has a way of damaging and decaying us, but God is going to restore and reinstate us as many times as we are willing to place ourselves in His skilled hands.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…for His Presence. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Valleys…I’ve been in some lately. The valley can be a harsh place. It’s like being trapped between the peak you just tumbled from and the one you have yet to climb. But isn’t that life? Isn’t one peak the beginning of another valley, and each valley the beginning of another peak? Not too many enjoy the valley, but we know we all have to go through it to make it to the other side. The beautiful part of the struggle is, no matter how high or low we go, we are never away from the Presence His light.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…for provisions. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Some of you know I have been out of a “corporate job” for seven months. That means no bi-weekly paychecks, pre-paid benefits, and other earthly securities. But when I tell you that everyday my God has given me my DAILY BREAD, He has done just that. Now I do not know what will be served up in this feast of overflow that is coming in my life, but I do know that every table needs preparation. This moment in life is just that, preparation, not for the abundance, but for the surplus. I already have an abundant life. And I wish the same for you. I wish you rest, refreshment, restoration, righteousness, His Presence and provisions…or rather…I wish you the ability to see that the abundant life you have been seeking, you have already been given. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.—Sean Johnson