4Word Motion: I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1 has been an anchor in my life. I love it in every version:
- KJV: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
- NIV: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
- The Message: “God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.”
- New Living Translation: “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.”
Update: Ida Mae and Marie have since gone home to Jesus, but
Momma and Maggie are strong!
Several weeks ago, Candace and I hosted a birthday tea for my mom and her girlfriends, Ida Mae (97 years old), Maggie, Marie and Millie (my Mom)—all three ladies in their eighties! The conversation around our tea table was laden with wisdom, laughter, memories, and fun!
After all the chocolate-covered strawberries, tea cakes and chicken salad sandwiches were gone, I felt divinely satisfied—physically. After the delightful company of these wise women, I felt divinely satisfied—spiritually. One thought kept creeping into my mind—I am 49. Ida Mae is 97. Meaning, I could possibly live another 48 years, if God allows. What an incredible, mind-blowing thought! If God does allow, I pray that my life will be as fragrant as the lives of these exemplary women—whose faces radiated a deep sense of contentment with a life well-lived. A life wrinkled by ups and downs, but rich in perseverance, faith, and commitment. 1 Peter 3:3 (ESV) exhorts, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
When Paul penned the words, the hidden person of the heart, what exactly did he mean? Commentator Matthew Henry helps us understand it a bit more. Discerning the old English is sometimes hard, but definitely worth the effort:
The ornament prescribed. It must, in general, be something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, that is, the graces and virtues of God’s Holy Spirit. The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behavior towards their husbands and families. At least, a quiet spirit will make a good woman easy to herself, which, being visible to others, becomes an amiable ornament to a person in the eyes of the world. The excellency of it. Meekness and calmness of spirit are, in the sight of God, of great price—amiable in the sight of men, and precious in the sight of God.
Learn this: a true Christian’s chief care lies in the right ordering and commanding of his own spirit. Where the hypocrite’s work ends, there the true Christian’s work begins. The endowments of the inner man are the chief ornaments of a Christian; but especially a composed, calm, and quiet spirit, renders either man or woman beautiful and lovely.”
Matthew Henry, like my mother’s friends, reminds me to nurture “the endowments of my inner man.” During Lent, I felt moved to forego wearing jewelry, in order to remind myself of the importance of adorning my inner man. This simple little act was amazingly freeing and once again reminded me of my cornerstone scripture in Psalm 23, “I shall not want.” When I glance away from the temporal and gaze into the eternal, my wants slowly fade—inviting me to a deeper sense of contentment.
Oh, I have a long way to go—hopefully 48 more years—but for a brief moment, while sipping tea, I glanced into the face of my future and smiled.