Christmas has just passed and we can finally take some sweet, relaxing breaths of air. It seems that with each passing year, Christmas becomes more and more hectic. I wonder if this has more to do with the fact that I’ve now reached the upper echelon of my life, or if it’s really that society is making it more hectic?
In any case, while we are shopping for those on our list, some of us make bigger sacrifices than others. My oldest son, for example, is going to be part of a mission trip to Kenya where he will be helping build a kitchen for an orphanage. These kinds of endeavours don’t come cheap, but they surely are worthwhile sacrifices. And there are other, even bigger sacrifices. The biggest one I have ever experienced is the one where Jesus left His Heavenly kingdom to be born in a meagre manger in Bethlehem. Would we have been willing to do the same, especially with Jesus’ destiny in mind?
How can we show gratitude to such a loving God? What kinds of sacrifices are pleasing to Him? This series entitled “Sweet Sacrifices” will look into that matter. Enjoy!
Anyone who takes advantage of the local public transit in Nassau, Bahamas, quickly learns how to pray and how to praise! First of all none of the Jitneys have seatbelts. The most daring seat to take (I had to take it twice, as it was the only seat left for some reason) is right next to the driver on his left (Yes they have their cars figured out backwards!).
The only protection between the fast moving road and yourself is the large, extra-thin windshield. Yikes!!! With all the braking and turning, it doesn’t matter how you try to brace yourself, you are left feeling like a punching ball. And boy do I have a lot more respect for these!
In addition, the concentration of most drivers is divided between their driving and any number of other equally worthwhile activities, such as counting money (mostly one dollar bills), making calls on their cell phones to everyone living in this exotic place, selling CDs, etc. They have taken the meaning of multi-tasking to a much higher level! Unfortunately, this ability is far from desirable to their passengers, especially the foreign kind!
And don’t expect for them to drive slowly! This is a completely foreign concept to them. As you are tossed from your left to your right, from the front to the back, and then back up front again, you literally feel like you are on a roller coaster, only without any restraints to keep you in one piece!
To be honest, we enjoyed these kinds of rides, as it gave us a great taste of the Bahamian way of life. In fact, the more we took the Jitneys, the more we found ourselves want to ride them. I guess they are addictive! Nonetheless, each time we stepped out of a Jitney, we found ourselves praising God that the transportation He provided left us in one piece!
The Bible encourages us to praise God through Jesus at all times, which would mean in the good times as well as in the bad times. It is referred to as a sacrifice!
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Heb 13:15 NIV)
If you don’t feel like praising at times, consider that it is a worthwhile sacrifice, no matter what. Not only will it benefit yourself, as it will swing your mood to the “good” side, guaranteed, but you will, at the same time, give glory to the One who really cares about you! It’s a win-win situation no matter how you look at it, isn’t it?
If you have problems with this, may I encourage you to take a walk around your neighbourhood early in the morning or late in the evening. Listen attentively as you do so, and you will notice that some creatures praise God no matter what the circumstance! Birds are truly amazing, and we sure can learn one or two things from them. But why wouldn’t they sing praises to the Creator? They are provided for, and they have another day to look forward in the companionship of their Maker!
You still have problems with this? Then it is time to fly to the Bahamas and take a ride on a Jitney. You will be amazed how fast you will learn the power of praising the Lord!
(To view the entire “Sweet Sacrifice!” devotional series, please click here.)