SCRIPTURE: Psalm 34:1 (TM)
I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
Two golfers stepped up to the first tee on the St. Andrews course in New York. The older golfer was a kindly man who played a thoughtful, deliberate game. The younger golfer was full of pride and impatience.
On the first hole he sliced, lost his ball in the tall grass, hit another one, & had a score of 8 instead of 4 or 5. And the next hole was even worse.
Frustrated, he began hollering at the caddy: "Keep your eyes peeled. I'm not here to do your job for you!" Thereafter, every bad shot was the caddy's fault! At the end of the first 9 holes, the younger golfer was so upset that he discharged the caddy & carried his own bag. "That caddy made me nervous. He doesn't like me, & I blankety-blank sure don't like him! I say good riddance to him!"
After several more holes had been played without a word, the older golfer broke the silence: "Several years ago a little kid from Yonkers came up here & became a caddy. He was a sweet-natured boy; quick-witted, willing, & had a nose for golf. Everybody liked him. His name was William; he had a clubfoot. But that didn't affect his caddying. It was a pleasure to go out with him."
"A famous doctor, a member of the club, became interested in William & took him South that winter & operated on his foot. When William returned, he went back to caddying. The doctor, however, had to give up golf shortly after that because of his health. And it wasn't long after that when he died.
"Months later I was playing a round with William carrying my bag. It was spring, & the fields & hedges were alive with blossoms. William stopped several times to gather flowers until he had quite a bouquet. 'Who's the girl, William?' I asked. 'I haven't any girl, sir,' he said. 'They're for my friend, the doctor--twice a week I take flowers to his grave.'
"Now that's a caddie worth having," the younger golfer said. "What ever happened to him?" The older man paused & then replied, "For 9 holes he was carrying your bag."
The obvious … the “it’s-right-before-our-eyes” … the highly visible … the center of our affection … the center of our existence … the center of the life we live … the giver of the very breathe we take … that which worthy of our praise … God himself usually goes unnoticed and ignored.
Sometimes the familiarity of it all is just too much for us and we end up taking it all for granted. It is easier, so it seems, to focus our energy on other things. Even to go so far as to blame others for our problems, as in the story above. Appreciating what we have while we has been lost on most of us.
Our lungs are filled with judgment and anger. They runneth over with prejudice and hate. Our breath is used to further the distrust we have for each other. But Praise? Of God? Not so much.
I'll praise my Maker while I've breath; and when my voice is lost in death, praise shall employ my nobler powers. My days of praise shall ne'er be past, while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures.
I'll praise my God who lends me breath; and when my voice is lost in death, praise shall employ my nobler powers. My days of praise shall ne'er be past, while life, and thought, and being last, or immortality endures.
Help us not to waste our days and our breath speaking negatively of others. May our lungs be filled with good things. May praise truly “employ my nobler powers.” And while you are at it, help us to appreciate what we have when we have it.