Cyprian of Carthage: No want

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The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

“Are you afraid that your patrimony perchance may fall short, if you should begin to do liberally from it? Yet when has it ever happened that resources could fail the righteous man, since it is written, “The Lord will not slay with famine the righteous soul?” [Proverbs 10:3] Elijah in the desert is fed by the ministry of ravens; and a meal from heaven is made ready for Daniel in the den, when shut up by the king’s command for a prey to the lions; and you are afraid that food should be wanting to you, laboring and deserving well of the Lord, although He Himself in the gospel bears witness, for the rebuke of those whose mind is doubtful and faith small, and says: “Behold the fowls of heaven, that they sow not, nor reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them: are you not of more value than they?” God feeds the fowls, and daily food is afforded to the sparrows; and to creatures which have no sense of things divine there is no want of drink or food. Thinkest thou that to a Christian — thinkest thou that to a servant of the Lord — thinkest thou that to one given up to good works — thinkest thou that to one that is dear to his Lord, anything will be wanting?”

Cyprian of Carthage (190-258) in his Treatise 8. On Works and Alms, 11.

We are getting a massive winter storm in Denver. It’s wet and heavy. It’s how God supplies moisture to the land. He’s a faithful Supplier of everything creation needs and everything we need. And it’s beautiful to look at!

I appreciated the recollection that He cared for Elijah and Daniel and will care for the righteous. This represents another one of those choices we must make. If we choose the right path, He will care for us too.

This brings to mind the well-known psalm and today’s Scripture reference. When the LORD is our shepherd we shall have no want. If we decide, instead, to shepherd ourselves, we will live in perpetual want. It’s the result of our own choice.

Generosity comes into view today in two ways. One, God is the faithful Provider of the righteous. And two, those who trust in Him to supply get to reflect a righteous witness of experiencing no want to a watching world.