Life Without Lack
Learn the secret of living with contentment, peace, and security.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself what your life would be like if it were completely without fear? If you did not fear death. If you did not fear life and what it might bring. If you did not fear any man, or woman, or any living creature. Would you live differently?
In this unique work of never-before-published teaching, Dallas Willard revolutionizes our understanding of Psalm 23 by taking this comfortably familiar passage and revealing its extraordinary promises: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.... I will fear no evil.” The psalmist claims to live without any need and without any fear. How is that possible?
Written with Willard’s characteristic gentle wisdom, Life Without Lack reveals the secret to enjoying God’s presence and becoming utterly caught up in his abundant generosity. The more we practice living in his presence, the more we experience the peace and freedom from worry that is promised in the psalm. Based on a series of talks by the late author and edited by his friend Larry Burtoft and by his daughter, Rebecca Willard Heatley, Life Without Lack will forever change the way you understand and apply the most well-known passage in all of Scripture.
“‘The Lord is my shepherd’ means ‘I am under the care of someone else. I am no longer in charge.’ So says Life Without Lack, which rescues the 23rd Psalm from its status as wall-plaque material, and restores it to its intended purpose as a description of reality and guide to life. It could only have been written by Dallas, who reflected on the 23rd Psalm with profound depth, and lived its reality more deeply still. If you want to know how to live in abundant satisfaction, or how to actually love somebody, or how to spend a day with Jesus, or what work consists of, or how to die to your self so that your self might come alive—I can think of no better gift than this glorious unpacking of these grand old words.”
—John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church; author of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me
“Everything Dallas Willard has written is a treasure. But to have this new book now is an extraordinary and quite unexpected blessing.”
—Eric Metaxas, nationally syndicated radio host; #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther
“This clear voice of Dallas Willard in his most accessible work yet shows us that an abundant life of God's companionship, protection, and empowerment really is possible and how to embrace it.”
—Jan Johnson, coauthor of Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice; and president, Dallas Willard Ministries
“In Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard helps us to understand that the Twenty-Third Psalm is not meant as a nice sentiment or for kitschy decor, it is for the very thick of our lives, the very moment of crisis. Imagine what our personal lives, families, communities, and politics would look like if we rejected the frantic striving of our day, and instead embraced the life without lack offered to us in Jesus Christ. No one has helped me to imagine and enter into that life more than Dallas Willard. I recommend this book with great joy and hopeful expectation.”
—Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America
“Dallas Willard was a philosophical, theological, and spiritual shepherd. So when he humbly and nurturingly expounds Psalm 23, we understand its profundity: he so dwelt in the shepherding love and care of God that he could in turn shepherd us to do likewise.”
—Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Dallas Willard leads us into life without lack, through green pastures, beside still waters as he illuminates Psalm 23. Since childhood I have known this psalm by heart, using it in times of worry and stress. Here Dr. Willard offers fresh insights; he links the psalm to other powerful Bible passages. This book is full of wisdom and joy. In the valley of the shadow of death we need not fear, the Lord is always with us.”
—Emilie Griffin, author of Doors Into Prayer, coauthor of Spiritual Classics with Richard J. Foster
“When I read Dallas Willard I am moved to praise, to awe, to wonder, and to faith. No one can define, explain, and expound on life in the Kingdom of the heavens like Dallas. I am so glad we have this book, shaped by Dallas’s daily interaction with the 23rd Psalm. He tells us in the first chapter that the most important thing about us is our mind, and the most important thing about our mind is what it is fixed upon. His insights here are not speculative, they are real and practical and reliable.”
—James Bryan Smith, author of The Good and Beautiful God
“I had the privilege of getting to know Dallas Willard well during the latter years of his life. Two years before he died, he spoke at a meeting for major Christian leaders that I organized. Let me emphatically say that everything Dallas has shared needs to be read by those who want to understand kingdom purpose. The message delivered in Life Without Lack will inspire readers to lean on the all-sufficient Shepherd and enjoy a life ‘abundant in rest, provision, and blessing.’”
—James Robison, founder and president, LIFE Outreach International, founder and publisher, The Stream (stream.org)
“In the best books, living proceeds writing. This is true in spades for Dallas Willard. Several times I heard Dallas say that before his feet hit the floor in the morning he would remind himself that ‘the Lord is my shepherd, I don’t have to live in the state of want.’ I observed the effect on him and his interactions with others. Now, through Life Without Lack, I know the full background, vision, and process for living such a life.”
—Todd Hunter, founding Bishop, Churches for the Sake of Others, author of Christianity Beyond Belief
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2018), 224 pp., ISBN 0718091841
Preface by Larry Burtoft
Chapter 1: God in Himself, Part 1 - The Glorious, Self-Sustaining,Eternal Being of the Shepherd
Chapter 2: God in Himself, Part 2 - Living in Mindfulness of Our Magnificent God
Chapter 3: Why There Are People on Earth
Chapter 4: Why Such Lack and Evil?
Chapter 5: Trust in God: The Key to Life
Chapter 6: Trust Completed in Death to Self
Chapter 7: Sufficiency Completed in Love
Chapter 8: All the Days of My Life
Appendix A: Passages Testifying to the Abundant Provision of God
Appendix B: “Humility and Death to Self” by Andrew Murray