When I gave my life to Jesus at a young age, I began to read the Bible. Not much of it made sense to me then but some of the stories captivated me. I had memorised Psalm 23 not because I understood it but because growing up with my church going parents, I had to learn it in Sunday School.

As I grew into adulthood however, “the Lord is my Shepherd” began to mean more to me than than the words I just recite in Church. In John 10:11, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. After making this declaration, Jesus went further to explain key difference between a good Shephered and hired hand. 

The one who is hired to take care of the sheep is just in it for the benefits and does not really care whatever happens to the sheep. He does the bare minimum and is only interested in maximising his income. 

Sadly, have these ‘Hired Hands in many Churches today. I remember a story I read in the news about a pastor of a church who won a lottery. The Sunday following the his lottery win, members of the Church who turned up for services were unable to access the building because the doors were locked. In an interview afterwards, the pastor confessed that he was not really pastoring the church because he was passionate about it, he only did it because it was a guaranteed source of income but now that he had won the lottery, he no longer needs to run the church. This confirmed what Jesus said about a hired hand. 

The good shepherd on the other hand cares for his sheep. His sheep trusts him because not only do they know his voice, they know that no matter what happens, he will always be there for them. It is therefore very apt for Jesus to use the shepherd as an example of who He is to those who put their trust in Him.

When David penned the words of Psalms 23, Jesus had not yet come to the earth but David already recognised the Lord as his Shephered. First, he declares that because the Lord is his shepherd, he lacks nothing, In other words, he has everything he needed. One of God’s main attributes is his ability to provide for His people. From my life’s experience, I can confirm that this is true. I have often said that God does not necessarily give us everything we want but He gives us everything we need. 

It is interesting that David wrote the words, “He made me lie down in green pastures…” (verse 3) Rest is something we often struggle with but the One who created us knows that we need rest. I don’t just mean rest in the physical sense which seems to be obvious but also in every aspect of our lives including mental and emotional rest. There are times that we are faced with a lot to deal with and we just need that place of rest where we can recharge and refresh. This is one of the things the Lord does as our Shepherd. Jesus reiterated this himself when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

Life can be challenging. A lot is happening around us and there seems to be a never-ending cycle of bad news coming at us through various medial channels. If you decide not to watch the news on the TV, you’ll hear it on the radio. If you choose not to listen to the radio, your devices will at some point pop up news and information that will take its toll on your emotional well-being. Jesus offers that place of rest. He invites us to come to Him so that He can give us rest.

If you're feeling tired, burdened, or weighed down by worries, remember that you have a Shepherd who has invited you to find rest. Today, accept His invitation, and allow Him to fill your soul with the much-needed rest you seek.