Thoughts on Pastoral Ministry from Psalm 23:
Being Satisfied with Our Shepherd and Pleased with Our Pastor (Part 4 of 4)
by Doug Smith
Note: This article is adapted from a message delivered at the first graduation for the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply (an extension of Bancroft Gospel Ministry in Kingsport, Tennessee), Phase 1 Training, on April 14, 2007.
Psalm 23 – A Psalm of David
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (KJV)
3. Finally, we must be satisfied with our Shepherd’s PROMISES. Notice that this Psalm is future-oriented in the responses of the Psalmist: verse 1: “I shall not want;” verse 4: “I will fear no evil;” verse 6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
The relationship we have with God and His provision for us are not just for now, but for the future. What He has done in the past and present are previews of what He will do in the future. As it has been observed, our “best life” is not now, but is yet to come. We do not have to worry, but may trust in the faithful, covenant-keeping LORD to take us to dwell with Him forever as He promises. Are you satisfied with His promises? If so, your satisfaction will show up in your present life.
John Owen wrote, “It is a vain thing for any to suppose that they place their chiefest happiness in being for ever in the presence of Christ, who care not at all to be with him here as they may.” What does your prayer life and time in the Word say about your satisfaction in the promises of God? Is your hope in this life only? Is your hope in a “big” or “successful” ministry? Or do you hope in the promise of dwelling with God forever?
Men, this world is full of things that will never satisfy us. Material things won’t satisfy, but neither will ministry. Only God will ultimately satisfy, and our ministries will not be pleasing to Him until we are pleased with our Pastor, and satisfied with our Shepherd. Are you satisfied with Him?