Summary: If Jesus is my shepherd I have peace when I rest in His presence
Last August, speaker and author Rory Vaden posted this on Twitter:
Saying “I’m too busy” is the adult version of saying “The dog ate my homework”
I think he may very well be right. And my guess is that every one of us in this room have been guilty of using that excuse at some time in our lives. Have you ever found yourself saying something like this?
• I can’t exercise because I’m too busy
• I can’t eat healthy because I just don’t have time to shop for and prepare healthy meals
• I can’t go out on a date with my spouse this week because I’m too busy
• I can’t read my child a story right now because I’m too busy
• I couldn’t take a vacation with my family this year because we’re all just too busy
• I couldn’t read my Bible or pray today because I was too busy
• I can’t make it to church most weeks, because I’m too busy.
While most of us recognize that we need to do something about our busyness, the fact is that we’re often just too busy to ever get around to actually making the required changes. So we’ve become a society consisting of human doings rather than human beings.
So how do we make the changes that are required to deal with that busyness? There is certainly no shortage of so-called “experts” out there who offer their solutions – often at a rather steep price, by the way. They usually call themselves something like “life coaches”. One that I ran across on the internet this week called herself a “Self-Love Coach”. Many of these “coaches” promise to help you get control of your schedule. Others suggest that you just merely quit saying “I’m busy”. But what all these solutions have in common is that they only deal with the symptoms and never get to the heart of the issue. So their solutions don’t provide any lasting help.
But there is an effective, lasting antidote to the problem of our busyness, and since we’re studying Psalm 23 in this series, you’ve probably already figured out that is where we’re going to find that solution.
Today, we’ll look at verse 2:
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
(Psalm 23:2 ESV)
A couple years ago when Mary and I travelled to the island of Hawaii for our vacation, we flew into Hilo and spent the first couple of days in the lush, green rain forest on the west side of the island. That area is what you would expect Hawaii to look like – lots of rain and lush green vegetation. When it came time to go to the other side of the island for the rest of our stay, we got in our rental car and proceeded to drive across the island to the condo we had rented. Based on the pictures we had seen online, we were looking forward to spending several more days in a lush, tropical paradise.
But as we got closer to our condo and turned to drive south along the Kohala Coast, we began to worry that perhaps we had made a huge mistake. As far as we could see in every direction there was nothing but lava rock. And what little vegetation there was looked a lot more like that we see in the desert around here than a tropical paradise. Even when we reached the turnoff for our condo, there was nothing more than a few palm trees and some small patches of grass that obviously did not grow there naturally. And then as soon as we made the turn there was nothing but lava rock again. But about a mile off the main highway, we finally came to the palm trees, lush golf courses, manicured lawns and sandy beaches that we were expecting.
We came to find out that all of the resorts on that part of the island had been built by developers who had constructed their resorts - their buildings, their golf courses and their lush landscaping – right on top of all that lava rock. They had created a beautiful oasis right in the middle of something that looked more like the surface of the moon than most people’s idea of Hawaii.
I have to believe that the green pastures and still waters that David wrote about in Psalm 23 were quite similar to that in many ways. Oases with lush, green grass and still, refreshing waters didn’t just happen by chance amid the rocky soils and arid climate. It took a great deal of effort on the part of the shepherd to provide those places of rest for the sheep.
And it’s also true that the sheep under the care of the shepherd were a lot like us. By nature, sheep are restless and easily spooked so they find it hard to settle down and rest from their busyness. In his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller writes that sheep are so easily panicked that even a jackrabbit bounding from behind a bush can stampede an entire flock.