I was in Cyprus for the SAT7 Network Conference (very good, but another story), and we spent three days being tourists afterwards. That also was enjoyable, but made me think about a contemporary re-write of Psalm 23.
“The Lord is my Tour Guide, provided as part of the package.
I shall pay only as much attention as I want at any time, and interpret instructions about departure times and activities as I see fit.
I shall expect attention, my problems sorted and my questions answered;
but I shall not feel any need to be polite, or form a relationship.
If I get into trouble, I shall scream for help,
but if not, I don’t expect my priorities and enjoyment to be interfered with.
If there is good performance and I feel generous, they might be a tip,
but it is someone else’s job to pay.”
Perhaps that’s overdoing it, but I do wonder if the Good Shepherd has not sometimes been replaced. This Sunday, we remember John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.” We may use Psalm 23 (“I have everything I need” – not want!). A Shepherd directs the flock for a purpose they may not understand. He protects the sheep from dangers they may not notice, and makes plans they may not be aware of. To be part of the flock, the sheep have to be – part of the flock. With the shepherd, under direction.
So there is a question: Is the Lord your Shepherd (with this understanding), or do you see him as your “tour guide”?