Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might, informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom.” Psalm 145:10-12 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Speak words of praise and encouragement.”
I thank the Lord for positive people. I love having them around. I’m talking about people who see the glass half full rather than half empty; people who have a sunny disposition by nature and who manage to find good even in the middle of difficult times and trials; people who praise God and declare His goodness even while others are muttering and complaining.
If you listened to the Easter sermon I preached at Oak Hill Baptist Church (www.oakhillbaptist.net) then you might remember that at one point in the sermon I quoted a line from a great poem by the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poem is about the ability of a spiritually mature person to see God and His glory, even in the common everyday situations of life. Here’s what she wrote: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.” In other words, we see glimpses of glory and hints of heaven all around us. Spiritually mature people notice and say so, while spiritually immature people are oblivious to it.
Spiritually mature people have the capacity to see good and to see God in the normal moments of life, and also in the difficult times, and they comment on it. They call other people’s attention to Him; they sing His praises; and they live a life or praise and joy. Sadly, many others fail to see it and waste their time complaining and criticizing instead. C.S. Lewis once noted that “cranks, misfits, and malcontents praise the least” while those who are “humblest and balanced and with capacious minds praise the most.” In other words, spiritually mature people are joyful and they praise God frequently, while immature people don’t.
We’re all living through a time right now that is testing people’s patience and their faith. Some have compared this time of worldwide pandemic to catastrophic times in history such as “The Black Death Pandemic” of 1347-1353 when the bubonic plague killed something like 100 million people; or the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920 which infected 25% of the world’s population and killed about 50 million people; or the Great Depression; or World War II; or 9/11; or … well, pick your disaster. The point is that people are scared and pessimistic and saying a lot of negative things. But that’s not helpful.
This is a time for the people of God to be salt and light, bright spots in an otherwise dark time. Don’t minimize or be dismissive of the very real suffering and the very real problems associated with this pandemic, but don’t join in the negativity either. Jesus is still on the throne, you are still saved, and we will get through this. In the meantime, there’s still much good in the world. The beauty and splendor of God’s creation is still all around us and there is still much to praise Him and thank Him for. So how about if we, the people of God, lead that choir of praise today?