The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
Our English word “pastor” is just another word for “shepherd.” Therefore, whether you’ve said, “The Lord is my shepherd,” or “The Lord is my pastor,” you’ve said the same thing.
Is the Lord your pastor? Do you go to Him with your spiritual concerns? Do you listen to His sermons? Are you part of His congregation? Do you belong to His church?
The very first words in this post are, of course, taken from the beginning of the 23rd psalm. These words are ascribed to King David of Israel who lived about a thousand years before his descendant Jesus. David had himself been a shepherd of sheep, so the metaphor probably had particular meaning for him. He was extolling the Lord whom he considered to be the very best kind of shepherd.
Jesus Christ came to earth to put a face on the Heavenly Shepherd that David so adored. Therefore, we can say, “The Lord Jesus is my shepherd” and continue reading the psalm thinking in much more specific knowledge than David had available to him in his day.
The Lord Jesus is your shepherd if you depend upon Him the way a sheep depends on its shepherd. Or we could just as accurately say, He is your pastor if you look to Him in this way. He is your pastor if you go to Him in prayer with your spiritual concerns. If you then wait quietly in trust to hear what He will whisper in your heart, then you are listening to His sermons. You are part of His congregation and belong to His church if you are acknowledging Him in your all your ways and looking to Him in faith as you live your life.
If you rely instead on a human pastor then you eclipse the Lord. You have outsourced your relationship with God. You have delegated spiritual responsibilities to someone who cannot possibly fulfill them for you. Jesus Christ Himself came to be the mediator between God and man – how can any other human being fill that role?
The Lord wants to be your pastor. He wants to visit your home. He wants to console you in difficult times. He wants to inspire you with His messages. Receive Him as your pastor, the shepherd and guardian of your soul.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Even so, Jesus has laid down His life for us. We are His people and sheep of His pasture. Let us follow the great Shepherd of the sheep.
He will lead you in the paths of righteousness. He’ll make you to enjoy green pastures and quiet waters in your soul. Even if you go through the valley of the shadow of death, He has a rod and a staff to protect you. No wonder goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life! Slow down…and let them catch up.
Do not be distressed and downcast like a sheep without a shepherd. Do not attempt a spiritual life without a pastor. Let Jesus be to you who He intended to be when Psalm 23 was first conceived in His heart and then planted in the heart of David to write. The Lord is our shepherd.