I saw a video on Facebook recently that changed my perception about something I had pictured in my mind quite differently. It actually turned my thinking on its head.
It was a video created by a Bible historian and pastor named Ray Vander Laan who was talking about the meaning of Psalm 23.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible – that’s the psalm that reads:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The focus of the video was on the meaning of the “green pastures”.
Now I don’t know about you – but when I think of sheep and green pastures, my mind immediately goes to visions of sheep standing around in the lush green mountains of New Zealand or perhaps on the rolling green hillsides of the British Isles!
Grass up to their bellies, food aplenty. Where it would (I imagine, if one were a sheep) feel like lying down on the equivalent of a 5-star plush hotel bed for the evening – after of course moseying back from having a lovely long drink from those “still waters” the psalmist describes. Ahhhhh yes…sounds great right? Yup – I could certainly see my soul restored in a place like that! I reckon that I could probably get my thinking straight and work out a “path of righteousness” after all that rest, re-hydration and restoring!
So then – I was a bit taken aback when this fellow was standing in front of what pretty much looked like a stony hillside in Jerusalem, telling the group he was with, that these were the “green pastures” likely described by the psalmist. Huh? They were anything BUT green!
He explained that the shepherds were not allowed to herd their sheep though the lower lush farm land, but that they were instead left with feeding their flocks on these hillsides. They knew, that with the winds and the humidity and the change in temperature from day to night, there was enough water around to run down the rock faces to sustain a but few blades of grass at their base. These blade of grass that were sparsely sprouting all over the hillside, barely visible from his vantage point, were enough to sustain a flock of sheep as they were guided along the well-trodden pathways that weaved across the expanse.
The psalmist was not talking about grass up to the belly, 5 star plush “green pastures” he was talking about the “just enough” type of grass…the “daily bread” kind – the stuff that satisfies our need every day. THAT is the place where the soul is restored.
WOW. That totally flipped my thinking on its head.
I can access that rest, re-hydration and restoration amidst the “ordinary” daily grind of life – even when things don’t feel so “lush” in life, or when things feel positively “desert-like”!
So, I cling to that hope, in what has been a full-on work week. I don’t have to be “hanging out” for that end of year holiday (even though I totally am!)
I can – if I chose – stop and appreciate the daily provision, to count what I have, not what I don’t. To live out of the abundance of “just enough” – and my soul is restored.
The little things really are the big things and it is the sum of the achievements in each day, that ultimately make up the pathways in life.
So if you are feeling tired and in the need of some rest and restoration – stop for a moment and consider the blessings in the little things in life, look back at how far you have come and then take the next step knowing that you will have enough to get you through each day.
What inspiration have you taken lately that has adjusted your perspective on life? I would love to hear your thoughts!