Friday, July 24, 2009

Shout for joy

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 66:1-2 (NIV):

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!

Sing the glory of his name;

Make his praise glorious

Yesterday, I was reading through a note on Job Connections (a non-profit employment agency in the East Bay) from a person who had just gotten a job. The woman, Jane, was thanking the people she had met at the Saturday morning meetings and all the support she had gotten while she was unemployed. She realized that she wasn’t alone in her job search. As an extended way of thanking people, she invited others to come and see her photography exhibit in San Francisco. That was her way of asking others to celebrate with her.

That’s the way it should be when our prayers are answered. The anonymous author of this Psalm is so thankful, he’s shouting for joy, and he, too, wants to celebrate with friends. While you’re at it, sing! It’s a great way to let off some steam. David often celebrated answers to prayer by singing his praises, or playing his soothing harp, or even dancing. David knew what it meant to be thankful. I think one of the reasons God said David was a man after his own heart was that he was honest in his time with God, and when his prayers were answered, everyone in Jerusalem knew because David let them know.

The Bible is filled with different forms of celebrations of thanks. When Moses and the Israelites successfully crossed the Red Sea, Moses’ sister Miriam led the throng in worship. David dances in the streets. Jesus celebrated with the wedding party by making wine out of water in Cana. In Jesus’ last recorded moments with his disciples, he has breakfast with them on the beach. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father celebrates his wayward son’s return home by barbecuing a fatted calf. The list goes on and on.

So who gets the credit when you succeed? You or the one who gave you the talent to accomplish great things? God gave you the talent you have, so he is the one who should receive credit. Too often, we sit back on our own laurels. Or worse, we don’t learn from our down time and realize the power of God working through us. Perhaps this unemployment time is just God’s way of getting hold of you and getting you to realize that it isn’t all about you. Take this time to recognize the many blessings God has given you, and thank him, today. He deserves the credit, not you.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, every day people lose their jobs, and people get new jobs. I pray for strength for those who are just starting out, and I praise you for the jobs attained today. Amen

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