This morning I was rereading an old favorite. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller changed the way I think about the most well-known psalm. Keller was a shepherd at one time and uses this knowledge to lead us further into the meaning of the psalm. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 KJV). When we consider the word ‘want’, we often think of having our every need met. While this can be part of the definition, the meaning of the word is much broader. According to Keller, it is “the idea of being utterly contented in the Good Shepherd’s care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more.”[i]
When reading the above statement, I contemplated what it meant in the business world. As business owners, are we to stop pursuing new opportunities? As young professionals, are we to stay in our positions and not pursue a promotion? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding NO!
How then, do we reconcile contentment and ambition? I believe we do not have to. The point is being content where God has you now. The shepherd does not let the sheep graze a single field too long, but knows the right time to move them toward another pasture.
The real question we have to ask ourselves is – are we still content right where we are if that business opportunity does not come through or we do not get that promotion? According to research by Robert Half, one of the three core emotions that define workplace happiness is contentment. [ii] We must trust our Shepherd to lead us to the right place at the right time and be utterly content in his care. Then, contentment where we are becomes easy.
Are you content right where you are?
[i] Keller, W. P. (1970). A shepherd looks at Psalm 23. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. (p. 25)
[ii] Robert Half. (2018). It’s time we all work happy: the secrets of the happiest companies and employees. Retrieved from https://www.roberthalf.com/its-time-we-all-work-happy