Jim Shrimplin

We Praise What We Prize

Today, I am reading, “Praying The Bible” by Donald S. Whitney.  It is a good, easy read, but there was a sentence that started me thinking and led to this blog post.  Here is what Whitney wrote, “It is as though God said to his people, ‘I want you to praise me, but you don’t know how to praise me, I want you to praise me no because I’m an egomaniac but because you will praise that which you prize the most, and there is nothing of greater worth to you than I.” (pg. 45; emphasis mine)

There are two ways that you can use this quote.  One way, we could use it to determine what we prize.  Think about what you praise.  Football team, a person you don’t know, your new fast computer, your faster newer car, and the list could go on.  The other way to use this quote would be to determine what you need to praise.  Take a minute and think about, make a list of “What do I  prize?”  Maybe it’s your spouse? Your son? Your daughter?  Some other special relationships?  Your church?  Your job?  What do you prize?

Let’s go back for a minute to what you praise.  Does what you praise deserve the level of praise you give it?  Is it truly one our your most prized things in your life?  Is what you praise on the list you made of what your prize?  If you look at your praise list and there are things on it that should not get the amount of praise you give it, good; now you know what you need to de-emphasis and what you really need to praise.

The same is true with your prize list.  That you prize are you praising or praising God that prize is in your life.  For example, when you look at your prize list and read, “Your spouse” ask yourself, “Do I really praise my spouse as I should?”  “Do I praise God for the church that He allows me to belong too?”  What do I prize?  Am I praising God for it?  Let me add something here.  If you prize a person in your life, I would encourage you to do two things.  First, praise God for that person.  Tell God why you prize that person and thank God that they are in your life.  Second, don’t stop with praise God for that person, go to that person and praise them as well.  “Hey Jerry, I am so thankful that you are my friend.  You have been there for me in the good times and the bad.  I really prize (or treasure) our relationship.”

What do you think that will do for Jerry?  Do you think Jerry will prize you more or less?  Do you think Jerry will feel better or worse about herself?  Do you see the benefits that praising someone could bring to that relationship?  A word of caution: don’t praise Jerry if you really don’t prize Jerry.  She will know that you don’t prize your relationship with her.  She will know that you don’t mean what you say and more than likely it will make the relationship worse instead of better.  Now if you really do prize your relationship with Jerry but you haven’t said it lately or haven’t shown it lately, then maybe you say something like “Jerry, I know I don’t express it as I should but I really prize my relationship with you and I am going to try to do better at showing you that you really do matter to me.”

In time, I believe that the goal should be to praise what you prize and prize what your praise.  In other words, we should be working to make our praise list and our prize list to have the same things on it.  Of course, the real question is where is God your lists?  Do you prize Him?  Do you praise Him according to how much you prize Him?

Dear Lord, help you to prize you!  Help us, Lord, to praise you!  Lord we need you in our lives.  I don’t praise you enough or prize you as I should.  Help me Lord to do both.  I want to follow  you with all my heart today and praise you with all that I am.  In Christ, Amen.