Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Love – The Foundation of UnityBible portion
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. This is one of oft quoted verses from Scripture and with good reason. Written from the perspective of a shepherd himself, David, this Psalm gives believers a clear lens through which God can be more easily perceived and related to.
In John 10, our Lord Jesus Christ lays claim to the title of “the good shepherd” (John 10:11). In order to gain a deeper understanding of the magnitude of Christ’s love for us, the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep needs to be studied. Those of us who were not raised in rural communities may have very little knowledge about sheep or livestock in general. Without a shepherd, sheep can find themselves in vulnerable positions. Under the guidance of a shepherd, however, sheep can move purposefully without fear of threats. Sheep also form very strong bonds with their shepherds. Sheep can expertly filter out instructions that come from foreign persons and hone in on the voice of the shepherd. Jesus is truly a shepherd unlike any other. As a shepherd does with wayward sheep, Jesus seeks out the lost. Moreover, as the ultimate display of love, Jesus laid down his life for his sheep. Psalm 23, when coupled with Jesus’ life and ministry, gives us assurance that God is willing to lead us as a shepherd does with his flock.
American country singer Carrie Underwood released a song in 2005 titled “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. In her song, Carrie talks about a woman who was driving to her parent’s house on Christmas Eve with her young baby. While on the road, her car spun out of control due to black ice, and she was in fear of both her life and the life of her child. Miraculously, the woman and her child were spared from harm as the vehicle came to a stop on the shoulder of the road. The message behind this song speaks volumes as it points to how Jesus never leaves his flock. Even in the darkest and most uncertain moments of our lives, we have no reason to be crippled by fear. Jesus is ready, willing, and able to be directly involved in our lives on a deeply personal level.
The good shepherd calls all of us to be part of his flock. His deep desire is to shepherd us. In addition, he promises real direction and purpose over our lives. Even though we oftentimes go astray, he stands prepared to greet and welcome us back into his fold. May this year be one where we let Jesus take the wheel and shepherd us. Like a shepherd to his sheep, he deeply cares for us, loves us, and promises to tend to our every need. His unparalleled love for us is the steady reminder and reassurance of Scripture.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your abundant love for us Your children, just as a shepherd cares for his sheep. We pray that you bring us peace and comfort in our times of darkness. We ask that You lead us by still waters and lay us down in green pastures when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face in this life. We pray that You send us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us along the right paths. Help us to always remember that we have nothing to fear as long as You are by our side. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Thought for the Day
Let the greatest need for our lives be intimacy with the good shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Epiphany MTC, New York