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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
—Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
VINCE AMLIN | I am trying to teach my daughter to be suspicious of commercials. When an ad breaks in on the YouTube video we’re watching, I’ll talk back to the screen.
“We already have a car!” or “Why would I buy another cellphone? Mine works perfectly well!”
It’s obnoxious, I recognize. But I am delighted when she picks up the habit: “We don’t need any more clothes! We’re already wearing them!”
I want to instill a sense of gratitude and sufficiency in her to combat the story of emptiness and need that the world is trying to sell her. When the nagging voice of consumerism tries to undermine her happiness, I want her to be able to shout back, “I lack nothing!” and mean it.
Of course, the psalmist is talking about something more radical.
Not just the comfort of a white, middle-class American family that has already acquired an over-abundance of material goods. But a deeper sufficiency that was true before we had cars, or phones, or even clothes. That was true when we were naked in a garden. And will be true still when it all goes away in the twinkling of an eye.
God is trying to teach me. Shouting over all the voices I turn to when I start to believe I am empty: food, and booze, and entertainment, and work, and ego, and novelty, and...
“Why would you need any of that? You already have me!”
PRAYER The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.

About the Writer:
VINCE AMLIN is Co-Pastor of Bethany United Church of Christ in Chicago and co-planter of Gilead Chicago.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.