It pays to be sheep
The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most loved chapter in the Bible - a source of strength through difficult times, and a reminder of hope in time of need.
But the blessings indicated in the 23rd Psalm don't apply to everyone in the same way. Their fullness applies only to those who belong to God.
We know this by the first verse in Psalm 23. It reads, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." Notice specifically the word "my." The verse says "the Lord is my Shepherd."
The writer of Psalm 23, David, begins the psalm by telling us that Christ is his shepherd.
Jesus is the one to whom David has entrusted his life, both here on earth and in the life to come in heaven after he dies.
David goes on throughout the rest of Psalm 23 to tell us what the benefits of this are. But those benefits are available in their fullness only to those who are in Christ's flock - those who have received Christ as Savior.
Now, it's true that God is good to those who aren't Christians, meaning those who haven't received Christ as Savior. But the extent of that benevolence is limited. A real shepherd's heart is bent on taking care of his sheep. That's God's heart, too.
The blessings of Psalm 23 - and the rest of the Bible - are most realized in the lives of people who are in God's flock, those who have trusted in Christ for their salvation. Is He your shepherd?
"(Jesus said) I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep . . .
"I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me . . .'"