“I shall not want.”
A little girl sweetly said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and He is all I want.” What sheep of God cannot say the same? What follower of Christ could have any desire or need beyond His ability to provide? Oh that our Lord may have a mighty army of soldier-sheep with knowledge and courage to proclaim Christ as an all sufficient Saviour and Shepherd — the Shepherd who can and who cares. A partial Saviour is not adequate, and a partial shepherd is not the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm. Faith — true faith — exultantly exclaims, “Christ is all I need.” Unbelief in religious robes says, “Christ is all right, but something more is needed.”
Your writer was once invited to speak in a certain church. He had been asked by a saintly member who had arranged with his pastor for the service. The pastor undertook to introduce the speaker in words about as follows: “And now I wish to introduce our guest speaker, the Rev. Mr. Bustin. I don’t know this man, but he is well recommended by Brother — who has known him for a number of years. I don’t understand how Mr. Bustin can go out and open missionary work as he does, for I hear that he has no one to trust in but God.” Such an insult! As if God were on the verge of bankruptcy.
Another professed preacher of the Gospel said, “Talk about faith! Faith is all right, but I want something which I can fry.” Shameful and wicked indeed is such an expression.
After two thousand years the so-called church of Jesus Christ has a wretched conception of the faith as was taught by Christ and His apostles. Despite the fact that the early followers of Christ put His principles of faith into practice, and left to us the records of the proven practicability of these principles, they are unacceptable to professed Christians in general. Modern religionists who erroneously call themselves Christians, prefer paltry props, and defective sight rather than the way of faith. In substance they say, “Christ has His place, but He is not adequate for my needs.”
Jesus said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on . . .” Mt. 6:25, 31. He intersperses this truth with, “O ye of little faith.” He goes on to tell us how this faith works — to give us the formula. We dismiss His message with the stupid statement, “Things are different today.” True, things are always changing and are, therefore, utterly inadequate. Our Shepherd never changes. His promises are surer than the stars in their courses.
Someone has illustrated the folly of unbelief by a baby salmon’s supposed fear of swimming out of the river into the great ocean, and as though it said, “Mother, I am afraid to leave our big river and go out into the ocean, for the ocean might dry up and we would die of thirst.” God calls men to go and work for Him and gives them the promise, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” These men say, “This is not enough. I must see where my support is to come from.” God says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Men of unbelief say, “This may be true, but I must have something extra. Our Saviour-Shepherd says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature . . ., “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Mark 16:15; Mt. 28:20. Men of unbelief say, “That is all right, but you should have some sort of human guarantee before you go.
Hannah W. Smith told of an old colored lady she once met, who was poor indeed, but being rich in faith was a joyous Christian. “Ah, Nancy,” said a gloomy Christian lady to her one day, “it is all well enough to be happy now; but I should think the thoughts of your future would sober you.
“Only suppose, for instance, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose — “Stop!” cried Nancy, “I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I knows I shall not want. And, Honey,” she added, to her gloomy friend, “it’s all dem supposes as is makin’ you so mis’able. You better give dem all up, and just trust de Lord.”
Oh, that we might come to the simplicity of the faith of Christ! That we might have an achieving faith, pure and simple — a “faith which does not wait to see, but causes things to be seen.
How silly it would be for sheep to fret and fume, and stay awake at night worrying about tomorrow’s grazing grounds and watering places. They take no thought of the morrow. That is the Shepherd’s responsibility. Since He cares, they need not care. This is the truth which our Shepherd would have us grasp and by it grow. “Take no thought.” “Be careful for nothing.” “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.”
Faith is the basic principle of the Christian life. There is no alternative. Faith there must be, or life there cannot be. A supposed faith which is out of harmony with the Bible is a huge farce. The faith which is taught by the Bible is not merely a passive faith which claims to believe God, and yet accomplishes nothing. Biblical faith is always active and fruit is sure to follow. (Note the accomplishments of faith as recorded in Heb. 11. “By faith . through faith”.)
Matthew Henry said, “An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.
“I shall not want.” “O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him.
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” Ps. 34:9-10.
Andrew Murray said, “We have a God who delights in impossibilities.”