I Have What I Need

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This morning I felt a twinge of panic as I got out of bed. I walked to the restroom and could feel the anxiety starting to rise up in my heart as I ran through my to-do’s for the week. This week I have an outing with some other pastor friends, and then I’m out of town a lot of the week for my other job (videographer), and will have to study for and plan a very important sermon for this weekend on very limited time. As I got ready for the day, the only thing I could think of is, “right now you are wasting time combing your hair! You should be studying. You only have two days for this message and everything else you do for Sunday morning and….”

I caught myself.

I caught myself agreeing with the enemy and with my own sinful tendencies that I am in control, and everything hinges on my abilities to perform. Satan’s primary lie to me is not that I should quit my wife or my family or jump into full-fledged wickedness. The lie I hear the most is this: “You can do it.”

I prayed those thoughts away and got the kids out the door, but when I had a 20 minutes before my outing with the other pastors, I said, “God, I know what I want to do (get to work studying in the little time that I have), but I know what I need to do is spend time with you.” I picked up my Bible, not knowing what I should read. I remembered a speaker I heard years ago, who said one of his favorite practices is to read a Psalm of whatever today’s date is, then he adds 30 to that number… reads that Psalm, adds 30… reads that Psalm and so on — five Psalms in all.

I flipped to todays date, the 23rd, and the first words of Psalm 23 captured my heart in the most perfectly, God-blessed way:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.”

I sensed the presence of God with me, and went for a walk, praying the things I thought I needed this week and letting Psalm 23:1 speak truth to me: “I need to get studying for this message — I have what I need. I need to nail this sermon so my church is equipped and I don’t mess them up — I have what I need. I need to teach my kids everything about the Bible so they grow up to love and follow Jesus — I have what I need. I need to make an impression on these pastors this morning — I have what I need.”

God knows that what I really need is a shepherd. A shepherd who will lead me to places of peace, not places of anxiety. A shepherd who will lead me to abundance, not scarcity and fear of not having enough. A shepherd who will give me victory over the things that continually seem to come against me. A shepherd who loves me enough to let me have my own way from time to time so I crash and burn and return to him. A shepherd is full of goodness and doesn’t bring me harm. A shepherd is my protection through even the darkest valleys of depression and doubt. A shepherd who will hold tightly to me even when I’m distracted by my list of things to do.

And in Christ, I’ve been given every single one of those things that I need; every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

If you’re feeling like you can’t make it through another week and there’s a whole list of things you need that you don’t have, pick up Psalm 23 and read it again. If you are in Christ, you have what you need in abundance.

Rodney Gehman