One of the most known psalms is Psalm 23. Even people who have never read the Bible have likely seen a passage from this psalm somewhere. When we read the first verse, it declares that the Lord is our shepherd. Then it says, “I have all that I need.” If the Lord is your Shepherd, you do have all that you need.
This is something that we all struggle with because we confuse wants and needs. We take on avoidable debt because of this confusion. We live in discontentment because of this confusion. As the Psalmist continues, he notes that the Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures. I love this visual. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they will not just lay down. The sheep need to be without fear to lie down. The sheep need to be without annoying parasites to lie down. The sheep need to be free of hunger to lie down. Here the Psalmist is declaring that the Lord is our Shepherd and with Him we have all that we need. As His sheep, we are able to lie down because we have all that we need, because we are without fear, because we are at peace, because we are fed and satisfied.
Are you content today? Do you recognize that you have all that you need—that with Jesus alone you are satisfied? This is a struggle for many people. We see people around us. We think we need more. We see a lack in an area of our lives and we think we are suffering. Remember, God has provided all that we need. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it. Remember, if you have Jesus, you have ALL that you need. With Him alone comes satisfaction. May He be your everything!
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” – Psalm 23:1 [NLT]
The Bible talks a lot about the dangers of money. Money isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that money can corrupt. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7 that, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (NIV). Even so, many people are not content to have the food and clothing Paul mentions in the next verse. People want more. And that desire to always have more keeps man from being content with the blessings of God.
In verse 6, Paul says “godliness with contentment is great gain” (ESV). Great gain. To be content with godliness is great gain. Yet, there is a warning here. Paul notes that many people want to be rich. The desire causes them to fall into temptation. They want more. They desire more. This results in entrapment by “foolish and harmful desires.”
God knows our needs and He sees to it that we have whatever we need to continue forward with what He has called us to do in life. When we take our focus off of His plan for our life, and we try to be like the Jones family next door, we plunge into ruin and destruction. We spend our life trying to live like someone else and we miss what God wanted for us. We focus on getting more, on building an earthly kingdom, instead of fixing our eyes on the Kingdom. Don’t take the plunge. Thank God for His blessings!
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9 [NLT]
Circumstances change. Situations are not always the same. There are moments in life when you may be “on top of the world.” There are also moments when you are at your lowest point. But in any circumstance, in any situation, at any point in life, you can be content. It does not matter where you are at or who you are with or your circumstances. Paul said that he was content in any situation.
I know people who are never happy. They can only list the negatives in their life, yet if I examine their situation I find many blessings I could list. For some reason or another, some people feel dissatisfied, unhappy, broken, or lacking. For me it is hard to understand. I have grown to understand this same contentment as Paul mentions. Life is really different when you can be content in all situations.
Today I challenge you to look around and thank God for your blessings. Did you have at least one meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Do you have family? Think of what you have—look at the blessings around you. When you focus on them and thank God for them, you aren’t living with your eyes fixed on your lack. If you can look at the situations that come your way in a positive light, you’ll discover this contentment that is only possible through Christ.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:12 [NIV]