Can you imagine if on the day my granddaughter was born, if her father Stephen began assigning her chores: “OK Charis, listen up and listen tight. First thing, change your diaper. Milk is in the fridge and bottles are in the cupboard. After your bottle, you can start by cleaning up the living room, then cutting the grass. And after that you can go out to the North 40 and fix the fence.” (I’ve always wished I had a North 40 to send my kids out to fix the fence on).
Which do you think more about: all you have to do for God or all he does for you?
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. (PS 23.1-3)
Ps 23 begins with God. The Lord of the Universe has taken upon himself the task of being the shepherd of his sheep. Because of who he is, we shall not want.
The Psalm is a catalog of all the ways our Great Shepherd Jesus cares for us. It begins with the Shepherd making his sheep lie down in lush green pastures beside still, soothing waters.
The sheep aren’t running around worrying about where their next meal is coming from – they are lying down in green pastures. The Psalm doesn’t start with action, it starts with rest. Christianity isn’t so much about what we do for God, it is about all God does for us. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 JN 4.10).
When Jesus hung on the cross, the Father’s wrath stripped him of all comfort, mercy and everything good, so that we could be made rich.
Jesus provides us with every spiritual blessing: forgiveness of sins, adoption as his children, eternal glory. He adorns us with his own righteousness. He lavishes us with gifts: his Word, his Spirit, and fellow believers. He heaps on us treasures of wisdom, joy and strength . He showers upon us each day’s “manna” – each day’s supply of grace and mercy.
Today, rather than focusing on all we have to do for God, let’s thank him for all he does for us.