"The LORD is my shepherd..." - Psalm 23:1
As a pastor I have performed funerals beyond number. Whether the loved one was a devout believer or rarely attended church, this passage is the reading of choice. In the hours of death, these words are of great comfort for those who grieve. But, the ultimate question concerning the departed is; was the LORD their Shepherd in life?
David expressed his life relationship with the LORD as his Shepherd. The entire psalm takes one through a daily faith walk. It all begins with the present tense of "is". The Lord "is" to be the Shepherd we follow in life, if he "will" be the Shepherd who receives us in eternity. Everyone wants a Shepherd in death, but is he their Shepherd in life?
Will you need the shepherd care of the Lord sometime in the future? Will you request this wonderful Psalm to be read during your last hours of life? Every comfort for your tomorrows begin with the "is" of today. The Lord will be your Shepherd in death, only if he "is" your Shepherd in life.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—
and I lay down my life for the sheep.
- John 10:14-15