(pic of Charlie on trumpet and Emily on flute, taken last spring)
Twas a terrific weekend! Emily, our sixteen year old, had a band concert Saturday night where she shone bright to hundreds upon hundreds of people. As first chair flute, she not only led the flute section, she had some beautifully played solos. One of the songs had vocals with it, and she sang (yes, sang) a solo while the band played accompaniment. She sounded like an angel! Way to go, Emily!!
Charlie, our college freshman son, sung in a chapel choir that sang at Harvard during their Sunday’s worship. Em and I listened to it live online and they were simply amazing. Way to go, Charlie!! His texts thereafter extolled the joy he felt for being a part of such a worship service. Both of our children got to shine this weekend–I utterly love it when that happens!
I wonder if God has the same kind of joy when His kids shine bright. Does He smile? Does He say “Atta boy!” or “Atta girl!”? Do we hear Him when He does? Do we dare to conceive of receiving His pat on the back, His all encompassing hug or a heavenly high five? I know I’m not one to even think like this…I don’t even pause to look into His face to see His reaction. I obey (when I obey) and keep going. I don’t check to see His response. If anything, I’m humbled and express thanks to Him for using me, but I never look to see if He is pleased that He was able to do so. I thank Him, but don’t listen to see if He is thanking me. I know full well I don’t deserve it…but I’m not sure that means He doesn’t give it. In fact, it is in keeping with the character of God that He is sending praise, saying “Way to go!”
I have a terribly strong hunch I’m missing out on a truckload of love by not receiving this kind of divine affirmation, by being unaware that it is probably there. I’m thinking gratitude and praise is a two way street and if we can’t receive it that we’re probably not all that great at giving it. If we don’t receive it, we can’t be a channel through which others receive it from God.
Is this Biblical? Does God praise His servants? The parable of the talents (a form of money) comes to mind (Matthew 25). Jesus told this parable to help instruct His followers to be good stewards and to invest in the Kingdom of God the blessings He has given them (this applies to much more than money, money was just the example given in the parable). In the parable we see wise investing and non-investment. Those who invest well receive more, the one who doesn’t invest loses what was given and ends up with nothing (and is thrown into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (!)). The master in the parable (who represents God) says to each wise investor these words:
“‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ”
Wow! I need to read that again…”Well done!”, “Come and share your master’s happiness!”. I’m sure God has said it; I just don’t think I’ve ever, ever, ever listened to it…
(Contemplative prayer: didn’t do it this weekend. Will get back on the wagon today…)