This is a great story that encouraged me to always share an encouraging
word with those who are down or discouraged because I may be the only one
in their path with the ability to do so. I hope you receive the same
encouragement to minister and be a blessing to those in need around you.
THE 23RD PSALM
One Friday at the end of a particularly hard and stressful week, a coworker
came to me and wanted to talk.
She said she just felt “blah” for the past several weeks.
“It is very difficult to care about anything anymore,” she related. Little
did she know that I was somewhere beyond that same point.
Three months prior, our family had lost a close friend named Zella. She
was related to both sides of my family in various, too complicated to tell
ways, and was like a sparkling extra grandmother to my children. Zella had
a wonderful, hearty laugh combined with a glimmer in her eyes.
But I found myself beside her bed in an intensive care unit, holding her
hand while her children took a break. A surgery the day before had revealed
a huge mass involving most of her abdominal organs. There was nothing to
As she and her family hovered in that no-mans-land between hope and
reality, I wanted to impart to her that God cared for her. I asked if she
would like a prayer. She nodded yes. I had intended to recite the 23rd
Psalm, but realized I could not -- I was totally blank! I was able to
stumble through one prayer, The Lords Prayer.
As I sat beside her, a faint sparkle returned to her eyes along with a
weak smile. I knew that in normal times Zella and I would be laughing, in
a kind way, about my awkwardness at that moment, and how I had botched the
prayer. But these were not normal times, and she slipped into
unconsciousness the next day and died several days later.
The 23rd Psalm is familiar to those of us from the Judeo-Christian
tradition. It begins with “The Lord is my shepherd...” and is perhaps the
most recited Biblical verse. I would wager everyone from that background
could think of someone they love or loved very much to whom this verse was
important. It is common at funerals, and in times of danger and stress.
I made a renewed pledge to memorize it and tried for weeks. I printed it
out in a large font and tried to memorize it while driving each day to
work. But it just could not stick in my memory.
I became increasingly annoyed and with disgust set the prayer aside. Many
extra hours at work, the everyday stress of raising children, helping aged
relatives and an overly busy life lead to a slow, darkening spiral that I
hardly noticed. Over the weeks I became unfocused, and increasingly felt
ineffectual in many aspects of my life.
So there I was, with my coworker -- a woman who needed reassurance, who
needed support, who needed motivation. And I was not sure I had any of
those things to give. Without great enthusiasm I started one of my standard
“You know, JoAnn, it isn't the job that you do that is important, it is how
you do your job...” It sounded incredibly trite as I said it.
I encouraged her to care, because with caring comes hope. And where there
is hope, there is always a future -- a better day. I threw in an impromptu
example of how easy it was not to care.
I said, “If you saw a piece of trash in the hallway, it would be easy not
to pick it up, after all, 'it is not my job.' But how much better it is to
care. How much more positive it would be to pick up the trash. By thinking
positively, you helped a coworker in a small way, and you helped yourself.”
I was not sure it was a convincing speech for JoAnn and I was certain it
didn't convince me. I felt even more tired, more spent. It was like what
little bit of hope, if any, which had been given to JoAnn was drained from
me, leaving me with none.
I gathered my coat, and walked head bowed and disheartened down the hall.
As I turned down a hallway, I passed a small rectangular piece of paper on
I just kept walking. I walked about six paces beyond the paper, and was
musing about the irony of the example I had just given my coworker, but I
didn't really want to stop, let alone turn, retrace my steps, and pick up
the trash. But I did stop, and stood still for a moment -- debating.
Sighing, I turned back to the paper. It was plain white and about 1-1/2
inches wide and 4 inches long. As I picked it up, I realized it was a
bookmark and when I turned it over, in small print this is what was on the
The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in
green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my
soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea,
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
evil for thou art with me: Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou
preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest
my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the
That was a pivotal point for me. It broke my mood, and for some odd reason,
or perhaps some not so odd reason, I was able to memorize the 23rd Psalm
easily after that day.
Every day we are presented with opportunities, some large, some small, to
move forward in life's journey. I can tell you many times when opportunity
knocks at our door; we don't open it to see what is there. Many times when
a gift is placed at our feet, we don't stop and stoop to pick it up. But
I've learned we should.
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season
we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do
good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Hebrews 13:1-3 “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain
strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them
that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as
being yourselves also in the body.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no
might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and
the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall
renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall
run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today’s Selected Poem: ALONE NO MORE
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem68.htm
Today’s Selected Testimony: GOD SAVED MY FAMILY
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony178.htm
In Christ’s Service,
Gods Work Ministry