The Thankful Sheep: Thanksgiving Reflection
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.
(Psalm 23, KJV)
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. You know the drill. It's time for family, food, and fun. I in particular am looking forward to some succulent turkey, creamy mac and cheese, tantalizing dressing, and some delectable red velvet cake... oh, and sweet potato pie... and whatever else looks irresistible on the usual massive Thanksgiving spread. Yet, everything always looks irresistible... and I do mean everything.
Dear Lord, help me not to commit gluttony. But I am certainly looking forward to the meal.
Of course the food is just a bonus for the reason behind the holiday. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense of observing the Native Americans educating the Europeans on their culture and vice versa. We simply observe it as a holiday to be thankful for what we have, which is God, family, and food... so much food...
I apologize. The thought of all the good comfort food is distracting. But I am indeed thankful for so much. One thing that I am thankful for is being a sheep. As I read Psalms 23, I realized the level of humility that one must have to be a sheep. But I also saw the benefits of being a sheep.
Psalms 23 begins with stating the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. This means that God is my leader; thus, I will not stand in need of anything. The following verse states He makes me lie down in green pastures, which means He leads me to fruitful territory. God makes me lie down in land that is plentiful, not barren. In other words, my territory is blessed because of His guidance.
Then, the same verse says He leads me to still waters, which means God leads me to peace. The Psalm goes on to say that He restores my soul. So, whenever I am tired, weak, and depleted, God serves as my source of restoration. He returns to me whatever I lose. He replenishes my soul as water restores a dying plant.
Verses 4,5, and 6 speak of God's comfort, His preparing a table for us, and how goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. What an outstanding promise! Yet, it comes with the condition of being a sheep. Sheep need a shepherd for their own good. The shepherd looks out for the welfare and safety of his flock - just as Christ does for us.
If you look at the language used in this Psalms it states He makes me lay down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. The sheep only reaps the benefits from the shepherd when they follow the shepherd. So, please hear me, and hear me well.
Psalms 23 does not apply to you if the Lord is not your shepherd.
The benefits listed above are only for God's sheep. It takes humility in realizing that we need guidance from a shepherd. To be a sheep is to acknowledge that we really don't know what to do with this gift called life without a higher power. Being a sheep means we know we need the type of shepherd who will leave the 99 sheep for 1 sheep just in case we get lost from the flock.
So, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be a sheep. I acknowledge that I am not perfect, I know that I need help, and I realize I need a shepherd. And based on my humble acknowledgement, God promises the above benefits for this struggling sheep. The offer is extended to all who will accept it... even though we don't deserve it. We all have the tendency to wander off from time to time. But the shepherd is always there, waiting to guide us back to safety. Because of my wandering, I don't deserve any of it. But because of His faithfulness, I am thankful for all of it.
God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
A Thankful Sheep