Have you noticed that it’s still cool to thank God?
I saw it numerous times in the first few weeks of the March Madness basketball tournament. The winning team was always interviewed after the game and the coach and top performing player often said something like, “I’d like to start by giving glory to God.”
I saw a news clip about an award-winning songwriter who said, “God has always been good to me. He helps me with his grace and strength and propels me onward with persistence and prayer. That’s what helps me perform night after night.” The interviewer asked him about the irony and/or conflict between his stated devotion and the lyrics he used to sing about cheating and wanting to break up on a recent album. No further comment was made by the artist about the disconnect between a life of faith and his songs being sold to the public. But he did add, “God has been very good to me. I’m blessed, you know?”
It is so easy to thank God for His goodness when things are going well. But the question we must face hangs in the balance to be considered: How are we being good to God? How is our behavior a reflection of our appreciation for His goodness? Don’t get me wrong. I am glad people want to thank and praise God. He certainly deserves it. But He deserves more than mere lip service.
Read Jeremiah 2:1-6.
The prophet Jeremiah received a message about what true relationship with God was all about. God told him to tell His people – “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved Me and followed Me through the desert” (2:2). The word “devotion” is from the Hebrew word “hesed,” meaning a loyal love relationship that is intimate and very close.
God was declaring through His prophet that the devotion of the Israelites had once professed had grown cold and distant. In an ironic choice of words, God said the people “followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves” (2:5).
If we take this assessment to heart, we should consider our relationships with one another and God. Most of us can remember how thin some of our “good” friendships really are because we did not nurture them to grow beyond surface-level communication and infrequent time spent together. Is the status of our friendships a reflection of our lack of devotion to others?
Yet we often treat God the same way. We may often profess, “O God, You are so good!” We may do it when we get a good grade on a project, receive a care package from our parents, are the recipient of good news and achievement, and even an option for a summer internship we were hoping and praying for. But we must realize that it is not about telling God He’s good only when good things are happening. The reality is He is good all the time.
What God wants is our complete devotion to Him and others – good words and godly actions that reveal our close love relationship with Him and those closest to us. Let’s keep thanking Him with our lips and our lives. Then we can love others in word and deed as well. Both are needed.
Live communally. True devotion requires more than just words. What will it require of you?
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz