In all probability, the 23rd Psalm is the best known, most memorized of all the psalms. The writer begins speaking about God. In verse four, he turns to speak to God. In verse six, the psalmist speaks of himself because of his relationship with God. The psalm is very “God-centered.”
It’s tempting to think of this psalm in terms of all that God does for us, but we would do well to also think about what the psalm means for us because of who God is.
Leadership in our world comes in a variety of forms and when we think about leaders, we might well think of CEOs in our corporations, officers in the military, or coaches on our ball teams. One image of a leader that seldom comes to mind is that of a shepherd. The world of the psalmist is a cruel and hard world, lived in the shadow of death with enemies on every side.
What kind of leader does that world need?
It needs a leader who provides encouragement, guidance and protection. It needs a leader who will serve as a host to others and who plants seeds of hope in the lives of those he influences, then cultivates that hope that it might grow large and strong.
The world needs a shepherd leader. It needs us all to behave as shepherds to others, for we are called to be like God, and that’s what God is like.