Paeans of Praise

Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they see what I do,
    they will learn nothing.
When they hear what I say,
    they will not understand.
Otherwise, they will turn to me
    and be forgiven.’” – Mark 4:1-12

Bound Together | Galveston Railroad Museum | August 2020

When our sons played soccer, we went to every game. When they made a goal, or good tackle, we cheered them on! A good part of that was parental pride. We so wanted them to succeed, and when they did, we felt good. Part of that was the other side of parental pride. When others noticed we could say, “Yes, that’s our son!” With proper humility of course!

Have you ever thought that God has that same desire for our good and his glory? Never prideful. Not in need of ego strokes. But worthy. And pure. Good. Jesus says it elsewhere: Let your light shine so that…they may glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). 

We often think of honoring God, or bringing glory to him as an intentional act of praise and worship like singing in church, or praising him in prayer. These are most proper and good. God is worthy of our praise. But that’s not to be the end of it. We must not relegate our praise of God to an hour on Sunday morning. Even if we add to that listening to Christian music or praying throughout the week, we’re not doing all we should.

We are to present our bodies a living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Everything we do is to be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Nothing we do in the Lord’s name is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). We are to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 6:25). Whatever we do, we are to do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father – whether speaking or acting (Colossians 3:17).

A missionary to south Asia shared with me an insight about her work. She talked about the 10-40 Window. That’s an area of the northern hemisphere world between the 10th and the 40th parallel where Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and atheism predominate. Her words, “Jesus is not receiving the  honor there that he deserves.” 

How about your life’s window? Is Jesus receiving the honor he deserves from your everyday life? Does it adorn your public worship life? That makes for the most beautiful paeon of praise in his honor.

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