I stopped by the supermarket on my walk the other day. Then on my way home, I started to pass an elderly lady on the sidewalk but I stopped because it seemed she was having problems.
She had been to the supermarket, too, and she had a big plastic shopping bag full of groceries. Her optimism had outstripped her good sense and she was trying to get her breath back before going further with her load. In addition, she drug a foot, the result of a stroke a year or two before.
Since she seemed to be going in the same direction as me and I wasn’t in any special hurry, I volunteered to help. I’m not a Boy Scout but I am a Christian and it’s the sort of thing the Lord told us to do. That shopping sack of hers seemed to have lead in it. She would never have made it home because it turns out she lived about a kilometer away.
I had to change hands more than once before we got to our destination because the plastic sack was cutting into my hand. Finally, as we had slowly walked and shuffled and were nearing her destination she said to me, “I guess it wasn’t wise to buy that melon.”
“Melon!” She had a melon in the bottom of that sack. No wonder my arms had stretched an inch longer than the other one. Under all those groceries was a melon!
Well, I left the sack at her door and walked back home. And I felt good. Why is it that helping feels good and working just makes you tired? Why is it that giving exalts you and spending just worries you? There is a difference between giving and spending. Have you learned it yet?
Those are principles that God set in the world. They are counter intuitive. It doesn’t seem like it ought to work like that but it does.
Praise is like that. People who don’t know God, think He’s egotistical when He commands us to praise Him. It’s just because they don’t know God and they are only thinking about how things work in this world.
How can an incredibly great Being like God receive anything from my puny praise? He doesn’t need me to worship Him to boost His ego. That’s ridiculous. God was doing just fine before I showed up in the world and if I were to die He wouldn’t be any less grand.
No, praise helps us enter a privileged relationship with our Savior. It’s hard to explain when you don’t know Him, but when you begin to thank Him, praise Him and worship Him something happens. He’s there. He’s close. You feel Him saying to you in response, “I love you. You are my precious child.”
Now, just like helping and giving seem to take from us, but actually build us up, praise does the same thing. It put everything in place. I think I’m the center until I begin to worship Him, then He’s in the center and life changes.
“Rejoice in the LORD, righteous ones; for the praise of the upright is beautiful.” (Psa 33:1, ISV)
“You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid.
“So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgment, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles.” management consultant Robert Updegraff