“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1
At times my life intersects with the life of a person in want. A bit of definition is required here because I’m not referring to those in deep poverty and deprivation. This person is the one for whom life’s blessings are never quite enough. In fact, those blessings are often invisible to the person in want.
I’ve found that if I have opportunity to offer a gift to a person in want, they will be
dissatisfied with what I’ve offered and want more or a different color or just plain want something else. As I watch them engage with life’s circumstances nothing is ever good except in retrospect when what they once lived becomes much more attractive than what they live now even if that which they once lived caused complaints during the time it was being lived out. It is as if this person has an internal sieve that strains out blessing and deliberately lives in want.
Kenneth E. Bailey in his book “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” offers a unique translation of the very familiar phrase from the Lord’s Prayer “Give us this day our daily
bread.” He gives compelling evidence that the phrase should instead be translated “Give us today the bread that does not run out.” I love everything about this phrase. It recognizes daily bread as a gift – a blessing from the hand of a providential Father. It completely removes fear and fret from the compelling need to eat instead expressively resting on the provision of a God capable of caring for tomorrow’s need today. It recognizes the idea of ‘enough’ for today and ‘abundance’ that supplies enough for tomorrow also. And it is a prayer for provision for ‘us’ – not just for my needs, but enough to meet the need of the community of need around me. This prayer equips me to trust enough to share the blessings poured out on me.
I know that there are times in my life when I am a person of want. When I see what God has put in my life and I want something different or something more. How I desire to be a
receiver of blessing instead of a keeper of chaff. I also see that I can trust the ‘wanters’ in
my sphere to the abundant provision of God. “Oh Lord open my eyes to see Your hand in every little thing. Shape me into a receiver of blessing and a giver of the same. May I never grieve You by not even seeing that which You so richly pour out on me.”
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20