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Leith Anderson

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The Lord Is My Shepherd

When we say, "The Lord is my shepherd," we acknowledge our dependence upon him, his ownership of us, and our personal relationship with him.

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Introduction

I don't know much about sheep. I was born and raised in the suburbs, and we didn't have sheep. In fact, they were probably illegal. I have been to the sheep barn at the Minnesota State Fair, which makes me more knowledgeable about, but hardly an expert on, sheep.

When I was growing up, my mother cooked lamb chops at home, but I never really liked them. One of the good things about being an adult and having a say in such matters is that we don't have lamb chops at our house. You might like to eat lamb, but I'm in the majority, because McDonald's hasn't had any success with McMutton; it's never even been proposed as a possibility for the menu.

While sheep have not been a very important part of my life, sheep are one of the few livestock animals that are found virtually everywhere in the world. There are few places where sheep are not raised. In some western states, there are more sheep than people. Australia has ten times the number of sheep as people. The ratio of sheep to people in New Zealand is 20 to 1. That's a lot of sheep.

While I don't eat lamb and don't know much about sheep, I'll admit that I'm wearing a wool suit. You may be wearing woolen clothing as well. Wool is an amazing product. It can be woven to be worn in all seasons—for summer clothes or for winter clothes. Woolen clothing is generally more expensive than just about anything else. They tell me that wool, in terms of weight to value, is one of the most expensive commodities purchased, sold, and exchanged in the world.

Whether we knew any of those things or not, we probably know Psalm 23, because it is one of the most familiar and best-loved pieces of literature in the world. I've heard it at weddings, where it is read with a sense of celebration, ...

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Leith Anderson is pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

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