Don't just survive; thrive!!
Hebrews 13:15-16 - “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
It sure seems like the world is experiencing an avalanche of issues in the last year or so, more so than what I have seen in my 40 something years of life. Natural disasters, political tension, pandemic, heightened racial tension and so much more! These things have actually been happening in parts of the world for a long time. But now, it has kicked in the door of every country, on a scale that truly makes no one untouchable from one or more of these issues. So many people seem to be teetering on a very sad and scary edge. Anxiety, fear, depression and anger seem to be a common thread with humanity on a worldwide scale.
However, the word of God warned us that these days would come. Perfectly in line with our Fathers character and love, he did not leave us stranded. He gave us the tools to stay calm, find peace and joy in our soul, and not just survive but thrive! Yes, even in the midst of worldwide chaos and turmoil, our God is so good. A good way to start thriving is by applying the words of the scripture above to our EVERY day.
First, offering God a sacrifice of praise is crucial. I think it is so interesting that it’s called “a sacrifice of praise.” Why is it considered a sacrifice? In my opinion and simply put: it’s because it is NOT easy! Sometimes you have to MAKE yourself do it, even when you don’t want to. It goes against the grain of the cultural norm to be grateful in times of struggle. Also, daring to profess God’s name in such a turbulent time, can open us up to ridicule, mockery and in some countries arrest, violence and even death!
We are also reminded to “not forget to do good and to share with others.” It is SO interesting to me the way this is worded as well. “Not forget?” We may have good intentions, but get wrapped up in our own survival that we somehow may forget to share and help others around us. This needs to be an intentional action. Write a sticky note, set a reminder, do whatever you have to do to make sure that your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc are doing ok. Is there any way you can be helping them? How would you even know unless you checked in on how they are doing?
I know it’s not always easy because separation, reclusion and isolation have somehow become normalized. Even for an extrovert like me, I have relaxed into having days just being in my own “bubble.” I don’t even know how that happened! Subtly that’s how. I have to intentionally make myself break out of that and stay involved with people and events around me.
What I do know is that when we are giving thanks and helping others, peace and joy come. No matter what is going on in the world around us, helping others helps us simultaneously. Giving thanks, even when it may be hard, helps us see how blessed we truly are. That is my encouragement to you today: “Offer to God a sacrifice of praise, do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased,” and meanwhile the quality of your day and ultimately the quality of your life will be richly rewarded! Stay encouraged.