Looking for Greener Pastures?

A few weeks ago, I was doing lectio divina with the 23rd Psalm. The word “pasture” seems to be the word that I stayed focused on. While praying about this word, I felt that the Lord was saying, “I am sending you out to pasture.”

Of course, my American mind jumped right to the idea that this meant the Lord wanted me to retire and not continue part time work. I went online to confirm the meaning. Merriam-Webster defined this phrase as, “to force (someone) to leave a job because of old age.” I began to giggle to myself at the idea that God would use this slang expression.

Next, I closed my eyes and conjured us my own image of “green pastures.” Take a minute and close your eyes and do the same. What did you see?

I imagined myself reposing in a lounge chair (I’m not big on bugs) in a green just mowed field. I could feel the warm sun on my skin and the light breeze. I tried to apply this picture to what God might be saying to me about putting me out to pasture. I wondered, is this how God wanted me to live out my later years basking in the sun?

I began to sink deeply into trying to understand more about the biblical meaning of “green pasture.” I scoured my theological books. I learned that shepherds start grazing their sheep about 4:00 AM. Around 10:00 AM the sheep are hot, full, and tired. So, the shepherd has the sheep lie down to chew their cud and digest their food. Then they are able to drink.

Next, of course, I Googled “green pastures”. I came across this video. Click here to see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x8MwiTs0hM

Now, go back and slowly read through the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Do you now hear and see this psalm through new eyes? I do even though I am still prayerfully trying to discern God’s understanding for my own life.  What might He be saying to you as you read this psalm today?

Pray:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. 
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. 
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. 
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. 
Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton

 

Kathy Milans

Kathy has experience as an elementary educator, teacher trainer, adjunct professor, and has served as Family Resource Director for a major hospital. Kathy is a Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselor and is credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor by the American Association of Play Therapy. She is owner of a private practice, Path of Life Ministry, in Wilmore, KY.

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