Daily Archives: March 30, 2009

Green pastures and quiet waters

Psalm 23 is one of the best known and most loved chapters of the Bible. In it David describes his relationship to the LORD under the analogy of a sheep and his shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4 NIV)

This Psalm  describes one of the common scenes in certain parts of the Middle East. Our photo was made in the mountains of ancient Urartu (Ararat) in eastern Turkey. Notice especially the green pastures and the quiet waters.

A shepherd provides green pastures and quiet water for his sheep. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A shepherd provides green pastures and quiet water for his sheep. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jesus called Himself the “good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14). Jesus wants the same of elders or overseers in the local church, and He reminds them that it is God’s flock and that He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers– not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 NIV)

Good shepherds serve God’s flock willingly to provide food, care, and protection for the sheep. The concept of “lording it over” the flock or “domineering” is foreign to the spirit of a good shepherd. Overseers lead the flock by their example of godliness.