Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…

Today’s article is inspired by chapter 11 of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller.

Two thoughts about “goodness and mercy” following us all the days of our life.

From one perspective, we can think of how God’s goodness and mercy as our Good Shepherd will always be with us. His vision, tender care and protection will always be with us. He is our “rear guard” (Isaiah 52:21; 58:8). He goes before us and follows us from behind. We are completely encircled by God’s goodness and mercy as His sheep.

Another perspective is that the trail God’s sheep leave behind is goodness and mercy. Under the management of a bad shepherd, a flock of sheep will completely destroy a pasture and leave it bare, full of parasites, and erosion will wash ruts left by sheep into a gulley. But under the disciplined and loving care of a good shepherd, the pasture is left in good shape, maybe even better than before.

Let’s take a moment today to thank God for being such a wonderful Shepherd, and for the fact that His goodness and mercy always follow us!

Actions Get Results

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”  41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10: 38-42)

We can all be very busy and often times we are.  I know I am.  I sometimes get so busy and am doing a lot of things that I lose track of time and can get off track of what I really need to be doing.  For me, that manifests itself in fatigue, a short temper, less communication with loved ones/brethren, reduced prayer/bible study, a higher dependence on “tomorrow” instead of “today”, procrastination, etc.  These are the results I get when my focus turns from what I need (Jesus) and either what I want and/or think I need to do.  It is what I call a death spiral…I get so focused on something other than Jesus that I begin to lose altitude and gain speed subtly and before you know it I am about to crash.  I have become distracted with much serving and the fruit/results I am getting are not leaving me at peace.  That is not where our Abba Father and Elder Brother want us to be.

They want us to bear fruit of the spirit which is a result of living a life for Jesus.  22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23).  These don’t all come at once.  It is a sustained life for Jesus…consistent behavior over time…that produces these fruits and gets us the results God (and we) desire.  5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1: 5-8)

We can examine the results we are getting from our actions/behaviors and know if we are on the right path and focused on the one thing we need.  We must do this…it is a continual process and if we are not self aware and/or continually check ourselves against the scriptures, eventually others will and we might lose an opportunity to serve and share Jesus.  I know that is not the result we are looking for.