“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).
I consider myself a “Bible-believing Christian,” but I admit that when I just read this familiar verse, I had second thoughts. After all, there’s not much in my bank account right now, I drive a shaky 14-year-old vehicle (one passenger told me a ride is like being in an airplane at takeoff), and the HGTV folks could get several episodes out of upgrading my home and yard. Many of my fellow Americans would say I lack plenty.
At this point, some readers may be ready to respond with a popular hashtag on social media: #firstworldproblems. The truth is that I could easily list my blessings instead of shortcomings. My wife works for International Child Care Ministries providing for children in more than 30 countries, and I’m sure many residents of those countries would look at my life and say, “He lacks nothing.”
This doesn’t make me more spiritual than the people in those countries. I’m not a believer in the so-called “prosperity gospel” (although the proponents can be entertaining to watch on TV). I don’t believe a person’s spiritual state is linked to what’s in his or her bank account — although wealth can be a stumbling block to spiritual growth (Matthew 19:24).
My needs are met in part by my job (which relies on you and others reading this magazine in print or online). As Pastor Roberta Mosier-Peterson reminds us in this month’s Action article, “God designed our daily work to bring blessing and good to the world.”
Our needs are not just financial. They are physical, emotional and spiritual. Learn about celebrities’ personal lives, and you’ll find that success, fame and good looks don’t bring satisfaction. Only the Shepherd can help a sheep echo another translation of the psalmist’s words: “I shall not want” (KJV). As Pastor Kristen Marble writes in this month’s Discipleship article, “God’s provision for our needs begins with a heart who seeks Him.”
In a section titled “Multiplication’s Starting Point — Revival/Renewal,” the Free Methodist Church – USA Multiplication Plan (fmchr.ch/fmmplan) reveals “a significant need for God’s presence whether identified or not; evidenced by external challenges in society; an eventual awareness of the need; God’s intervention to meet the need; people who agitate others, explain and promote the work of the Holy Spirit; and finally, a vast array of changes beyond conversion that come from the full work of the Spirit. … From this deep need, we have an opportunity to see a flow of Spirit work in our world.”
In this month’s Feature article, Pastor Jeff Baxter reminds us: “The beginning point of revival fire is you.” By the way, if you’re looking for a high school graduation gift that may help bring revival to a college campus, check out Baxter’s Zondervan/HarperCollins book, “The Ultimate Guide to Being a Christian in College: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Faith.”
Keep reading this issue too for the wise advice of Bishop David Roller and news coverage of the fire-sparking Equipping for Excellence and Expansion (E3) events.
Jeff Finley has served as the managing editor of Light + Life since 2011. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for Sun-Times Media. He is a volunteer in several ministries at John Wesley Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis.
- Feature: Calling Down Revival Fire
- Bishops: Vacation Invitation
- Action: Give Us This Day Our Daily Work
- Discipleship: Need and Provision
- Discipleship: Giving When You Need It Most
- News: Excellence and Expansion Converge at E3