I Don’t Need a Thing
This week I’m preaching on Psalm 23, and in my preparation I found an interesting juxtaposition. The NRSV reads: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The Message reads: “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.”
There’s a big difference between the two … and it points to something I’ve noticed. Too often, I think we find ourselves resisting the ways in which God would care for us. We find ourselves saying the words of the paraphrase: “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.”
“God, you go on and take care of somebody who really needs you. I’m doing just fine. I don’t need a thing.”
In my interaction with folks in the area that have been affected by recent flooding, I’ve see a lot of examples of this resistance to being cared for. Too many folks resist help, resist supplies, put on a brave face and say they’re doing okay. “You give those things to someone who really needs them. I’m doing okay.” Or “we’ll be fine.”
We folks in rural areas are really good at care for others … but sometimes we’re not all that comfortable with having other people care for us.
“Oh, Pastor Meg, I don’t need to be on the prayer list. There are so many other people who need prayer more than I do.” OR
“Pastor Meg, I don’t want you to make a trip all the way down to Paducah just to see me in the hospital. You’ve got too many other things to do.”
To me, those things sound an awful lot like: God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
Psalm 23 invites us to envision God as our shepherd: one who is with us and who is for us. But it also challenges us to give up our resistance to God’s shepherding care. Psalm 23 challenges us to let our independence slip – ever so slightly – and to give ourselves permission to receive God’s care.