S79P2 – Notes on gratitude: our sign to others

1 Chr. 16:8-9

O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make His deeds known among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.

Years ago, I volunteered at an inner-city youth ministry for a season.  I still remember my first night there, which was one of the loudest and most chaotic evenings of my life.  I would like to say that those kids warmed up to me right away, but it took months for that to happen. One thing that always stands out to me from that short year with those kids is the moment that a boy named James became my friend.  This was the kid who refused to recognize my authority or listen to what I had to say.  He spent months making sure that I knew he did not care for me in the least.  Then one day it was as if someone flipped a switch, and I suddenly became cool enough for him. Unbeknownst to me, what made that change happen was other kids praising me for my work there and doing it for him to see.

For some people, God will be very far off and almost unreachable without some kind of personal bridge.  That is where we come in. Showing our gratitude to the Lord does not need to be some quiet, private event.  In fact, many scriptures instruct us to sing his praises loudly.  We can say that one obvious reason for this is that God deserves our praises.  Another reason is that our public show of gratitude may give him some kind of street credit with people who are willing to get close to us but not to him.  There are some who will consider that perhaps He can be trusted and approached if they see certain people of influence in their lives doing the same.  Our public and vocal thankfulness may be just what some need to start recognizing that God deserves their praises.

If we are proud to follow the Lord and proud to rely on him, then we should not be shy and quiet about showing our gratitude.  It should be no secret that we are immeasurably grateful to God just for the simple fact that He is who He is.  There are many other blessings we can add to that, and that should only make our gratitude even louder and more obvious.  Giving God the praise for all to hear might be just what some need to start thinking about their own relationships with him.  If I have to make a spectacle of myself to help bring that about, then so be it. Father, give us the courage and the passion to be loud about our gratitude, that we would not shy away from praising You for anyone and everyone to hear.