Is this outflow of goodness and mercy for me to stop and stagnate in my life? Is there no way in which it can pass on through me to benefit others? Yes, there is a way.
There is a positive, practical aspect in which our life in turn should be one whereby goodness and mercy follow in our footsteps for the well-being of others.
Just as God’s goodness and mercy flow to us all the days of our life, so goodness and mercy should follow us, should be left behind us as a legacy to others wherever we may go.
Sheep can be the most beneficial of all livestock if properly managed. Their manure is the best balanced of any produced by domestic stock. When scattered efficiently over the pastures it proves of enormous benefit to the soil. No other livestock will consume as wide a variety of herbage. Sheep eat all sorts of weeds and other undesirable plants that might otherwise invade a field. In a few years, a flock of well-managed sheep will clean up and restore a piece of ravaged land as no other creature can do.
In other words, goodness and mercy have followed the flocks. They leave behind them something worthwhile, productive, beautiful, and beneficial to both themselves, others, and the shepherd. Where they have walked there follow fertility and weed-free land. Where they have lived there remained beauty and abundance.
The questions now come to us pointedly:
Is this true of our life?
Do we leave a blessing and benediction behind us?
Do we leave behind peace or turmoils?
Do we leave behind forgiveness or bitterness?
Do we leave behind contentment or conflict?
Do we leave behind flowers of joy or frustration?
The only real, practical measure of my appreciation for the goodness and mercy of God to me is the extent to which I am, in turn, prepared to show goodness and mercy to others.
An excerpt from A Shepherd Look at Psalm 23