IT’S GREAT BEING GRATEFUL –
The pilgrims have arrived in the Holy City; they are standing on holy ground in the Temple court; the priests are ready to minister; let the praise and worship begin! So the compilers of the Psalter chose a psalm written by an exile who had returned to Jerusalem after being in bondage, and was overwhelmed by the thrill of standing in the rebuilt Temple to honor the God who delivered him. Can you imagine on any given Sunday, billions of people around the world are in communion with God at the same time; in thousands of languages and dialects; using songs with many tempos and rhythms; offering many types of pray and praise to one God. The fact that He understands every one of them simultaneously; knowing they all expect a refreshing of the Spirit from Him, makes worshiping Him that much more awesome.
“O Hallelujah! Praise the LORD Eternal for who He is; yes, let the servants of the LORD Eternal praise Him as they stand in the House of the LORD Eternal, in the sanctuary of our One True God. Praise our Heavenly Master, our LORD Eternal, as you sing hymns about who He is, for He is wonderful and good. For our Heavenly Master chose us for Himself, yes, we all became His personal treasure. Therefore we know the LORD Eternal is great; that our Divine Master is greater than all powers. The LORD Eternal only does what pleases Him, whether up in heaven or down on earth, or in the middle of the ocean, to its deepest depths. So let every believer bestow praise on the LORD Eternal; let every minister bestow praise on the LORD Eternal; let every associate minister bestow praise on the LORD Eternal; let the laity bestow praise on the LORD Eternal; everyone join in and bestow praise on the LORD Eternal. We praise You, O LORD Eternal, for Your presence is in Your holy sanctuary. O Hallelujah! ” Psalm 135:1-6, 19-21
Reflection: At age 21, John Wesley entered Oxford University. He came from a good Christian home, and received compliments for his keen mind and good looks. Yet he proved to be somewhat snobbish and sarcastic. One night while speaking to a porter he learned that the poor fellow possessed only one coat; lived in such impoverished conditions that he did not have a bed to sleep on. Yet, he seemed unusually happy and filled with gratitude to God. Wesley thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes by saying rather sarcastically: “And pray tell, what else might you thank God for?”
The porter smiled and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, “I thank Him that He has given me life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him.” Wesley was deeply moved; he recognized that this man knew the meaning of how to give God praise. It had a deep effect on Wesley’s life. Many years later John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those gathered around him were familiar with how he praised God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley’s extreme weakness, he began singing a hymn written by Isaac Watts based on this Psalm entitled, “I’ll Praise My Maker While I Have Breath.” Little did the poor porter know how much his spontaneous praise to God served to change the world through the ministry of John Wesley. Like the psalmist, Wesley knew that no other god in the universe or in man’s imagination could compare to his Divine Master. What wonderful examples these servants of the LORD give us to follow as we pass through life. Ask yourself this question: “When was the last time someone inquired about how you were getting along, after they found out about some misfortune or setback you suffered?” Did you give an answer similar to that the porter gave John Wesley? Keep in mind the dramatic change such a response might bring to future leaders in God’s kingdom that you might meet along the way.