One evening last week I went to Norlo Park to run a couple laps around the park. While I was there I noticed a group of conservatively dressed young ladies (I wasn’t sure if they were Mennonite or German Baptist). I passed them once on the path and then the next time around I noticed they were standing in the dry creek bed by the small wooden bridge under route 30. As I got closer I heard them singing and saw at least one song book and one of them leading the group. They were being quite creative singing in the underpass so that their voices bounced off of the concrete tunnel and back to them. They were singing harmony so this would be a great way to hear how their voices blended. There wasn’t anything wrong with this. God created us in a way that beautiful music touches us in a special way. We can all appreciate quality music even if it comes from our own voices.
When I was reflecting on what I saw, the question I thought of was, do our praises reach God or come back to us? In no way am I being critical of the group of young ladies. I thought it was a neat and creative idea to sing in the underpass. However, we do need to check our attitude when we praise God. If our attitude is not right then our praise is meaningless and bounces back to us without reaching God, so to speak. Are we intentional in giving God praise – lifting our voices to him, whether others are listening or not? In the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector Jesus said this, “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector’ ” (Luke 18:11). Who was the Pharisee really praising? The prayer was all about how great he was, not how great God is. Anytime we praise God to boast about ourselves we may as well be standing in the underpass because the praise will not go much further than route 30. We need the humility of the tax collector who said, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Praise that comes out of a humble and grateful heart is authentic and meaningful. Let’s always truly give God the praise!
“Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.” Psalm 9:11