praise him, you servants of the LORD. (Psalm 135:1)
As we rise this morning I hope that is the first thought that enters our thoughts; Praise the Lord! There is so much that wants to fill our mind and our activities today. There is so much that has crowded itself into our Sundays. There was a time when we understood the purpose of a day of rest, of setting aside our activities for one day, of setting our mind upon the goodness of our God. Now we try to fit in a quick hour for church before we have to run off to kids' sports activities, a few hours in the office, yard work, a thousand different chores. No wonder the concept of our first thought being, "Praise the Lord" is such a novel thing.
Stop for a minute before you rush off to your next task. Stop and take a deep breath. Stop and count ten things that God has done this week that you are grateful for. Just ten. Now thank him. Out loud, go ahead; "Thank you Lord for ..." Worship, adoration, praise is what we owe our God today along with time and reflection on his goodness. He is good you know. The psalmist wrote:
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. (Psalm 135:3)
Are we teaching this to our children or are they seeing other things that take greater priority for us? I wonder if we asked our children what they thought was important to us what order they would write them in? We are a privileged people to be able to call upon the name of the Lord. There is no greater privilege than to worship him. He has given us life, rescued us for death, forgiven our sins, given us a book filled with promises, is our constant companion, fills our lives with blessings, rescues us from our own stupidity, fills us with love, mercy, grace, peace and has promised to respond to our prayers:
I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods. (Psalm 135:5)
It is because we belong to him that we are different than most people on this planet. We make the choice to worship him in the assembly instead of going hiking or playing golf. We teach our children it is more important to be in a house of worship than on a soccer field. We teach them that worship is of far greater value than earning an extra dollar or two. We demonstrate to our family and the world that we have no other gods before our God because we love him and honour him above everything else:
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 135:15-18)
The idols of today are different from then but they have the same effect. They are empty of any worth if God is not the God of them. Would our children say that our sports are more important than church or that their activities take a greater priority than worship? Do we see worshipping God in the assembly to be of greater worth than a sunny day on the golf coarse, or on the beach, or in the garden? What was your first thought when you woke this morning?
If we want life to have the balance God intended for it then we must give him the priority in all things. He must be God of everything in our life. We should have a relationship where we would never see an alternative choice to worshipping in the assembly. It should not even be a matter of giving God part of the day but honouring him with the full day. After church invite people over to enjoy fellowship in the Body. Take time and go for a walk with the family and discuss the wonderful things God has done. Sit and watch the sunset with your children tonight and discuss the majesty of our King Jesus. Give God the priority of your thoughts, actions and time today and see what happens to your relationship. But this morning at least start with:
Praise The Lord!