The reality of what is written below by John Barry is not lost on us. We have had years of amazingly large financial blessings. We have also seen months that we did not have enough money to buy food, let alone enough gas to make a trip to the store to purchase anything. That pales in comparison to the poverty I have personally seen while on mission trips but when living in this country, people are subject to the drastic levels of economic disparity and it can cause the same level of despair, illness and death.
In a country that has so much, we still have so many here who do not receive the basic needs of our own culture. It is difficult to wrap our minds around it because we frequently hear about the abuse of the systems created to help deter this type of situation in the USA but the writer makes a key point, which we have learned all too well now. When you don't have food to give your children, when you don't have electricity for your home (in this nation), or when you can not pay to have water in your house, you find yourself more apt to seek Jesus because he is the only thing left in your life. The reality of the situation is more likely to make us seek Jesus because we realize that there is not enough loving coming from people so we come face-to-face with our greatest point of physical need. This is where God is able to do so much more with us.
We, as christians, should see this as a call to action locally, regionally, and globally. I have to determine that in my own life, my purpose is not just to attain more for myself but to make sure as many, as possible, are feeling the love that God has shared with me. My choices for what I do when walking in "green pastures" should be directly related to how many people I can help as I walk along the way.
March 24: Green Pastures: They Require Action
Love and complete reliance on God are interrelated concepts. When we discover what love really means, we want to praise God for it. When we learn to rely on God for all our needs, we see just how loving He is as He takes care of all aspects of our lives. And this love makes us want to show love to others.
It’s those who don’t have who are most apt to come to Jesus. They’re most in need of love. For this reason, it’s hard for us who do have—a home, a car, enough food for a week—to fully understand reliance on Christ. It takes a different type of discipline.
This is why it’s still shocking to me how many people absolutely love Psa 23. It’s comforting, I suppose, and that’s why: “Yahweh is my shepherd; I will not lack for anything. In grassy pastures he makes me lie down; by quiet waters he leads me” (Psa 23:1–2). I think so many of us love it, though, because we’re aware of how frail and vulnerable we really are. It could all be gone in a moment. Disease catches up to us, and death will eventually get us all. We often forget just how important love is in all this, and we fail to recognize why Psa 23 has a special place in our hearts.
We are in the top percentile of wealth in the world. Many of our families own more than one car. Nonetheless, the death around us and the diseases we see show just how quickly it can be gone. And for this reason, we can recognize how crucial love is. Love carries people through hard times. It brings them to depend on God. Paul tells us we could have all sorts of incredible spiritual gifts, but if we don’t have love, there’s no point (1 Cor 13:1, 13).
And when Paul speaks about love, he’s not talking about something we say or even feel; he’s talking about something we do. Love requires us to give all things; or in Paul’s words, it “rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:6–7). So, those of us who understand relying on Psa 23, even in our wealth, must help those who rely on its promises but are yet to experience them. They are people all over the world, waiting for us to “bear” their burdens with them. They are the hurting, the voiceless—the people who need us to show real love.
How can you show love to the hurting and voiceless in the world today? God has called us all to action—that is what love means. So how will you act? - John D. Barry
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.