Speaking to the soul

Winchester Cathedral

The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need.
Psalm 23:1 NLT

When I was a student minister I was given responsibility for a wonderful little church in rural Oxfordshire. It had eight members and the largest congregation I ever saw was 19. It was a great experience and the church secretary was a shepherd, by occupation. He loved to talk about his sheep and helped me to understand a great deal more about how challenging our woolly friends can be. But above all I came to realise that he really knew his sheep and he loved them as individuals.

David was writing out of his own personal experience. Unlike my friend, David couldn’t go home at night. He cared for his sheep 24/7. He exposed himself to the threats of challenging weather, dangerous terrain, fierce wolves and sheep rustlers. He was totally committed to his sheep and he, better than anyone else, knew exactly what they needed.

I am quite sure that, as a King, David often reflected on his earlier experiences as a shepherd and he knew what he was saying when he concluded that God himself was the perfect shepherd. He was able to give him everything he needed. NOT everything he wanted. That’s different. But God could perfectly meet all his needs and David was convinced from his experience that he would do so.

Our society encourages us to want more and more. More possessions, more money, more power, more sex, more prestige, more fame. More, more, more. But the truth is that we don’t need more. God perfectly understands what we need and promises to give us those things because he loves us and longs to satisfy our needs.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul wrote that he had learned how to be content with whatever he had. He knew that God, his loving shepherd, would provide perfectly for his needs whatever happened to him. Such contentment must surely be the most desirable way to live.


What do you really need in life at the moment? Having written out the list, thank God that he will give you whatever you need.


Thank you Lord that you know me perfectly and that you promise to give me what I truly need. Forgive me for those times when I let my wants dominate life and get in the way of my relationship with you. Amen.