I know of a professor who years ago had a colleague saying that he “tried Christianity for a while” but that it didn’t give him what he wanted, so he went off in search of an alternative. Buddha or something.
I’m learning to never be intimidated by people with lots of letters behind their names. They are really smart, no contest that, but not necessarily wise. Big difference. B-I-G.
In fact, that same line of thinking really hits home with me when the Psalmist pens this little jewel:
“Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. Many people say, ‘Who will show us better times?’ Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
Offerings without stings attached, without compensation this side of Heaven, without understanding why I’m not getting the payback I expected or thought I deserved.
Expected? Deserved? (Dare I even want to start down that path??) Just what are my expectations on God? How do I define His goodness, His faithfulness? Is it through my health? Don’t tell Job that! My safety? Peter would disagree. Or how about monetary compensation? Zaccheus sure changed his mind after he came down from his perch in the tree.
Running around looking for deities (sometimes in the form of politicians, pleasures, or other forms of temporary satisfaction) to “show us better times” will only take on the form of a religious smorgasbord. On the other hand, the God of the Bible has more in mind, (His mind, and much more), for us than merely temporal better times. Not that I’m opposed to good times, mind you. But, good or bad, that’s not the “right spirit” in which to worship this God of Angel Armies.
I’m thinking the right spirit here is what immediately follows in this passage: trusting God for intimate relationship with Him (that whole “face smiling on us” thing) which is itself to be our joy, far greater than all the temporal stuff on the smorgasbord of offerings out there.
Himself. Present with me. Always. To the end of the age.
And I don’t even have to have any letters behind my name to accept it!
Psalm 4:5-7 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.