The Toronto Raptors and the Power of Praise
Last night the Toronto Raptors won their first ever NBA championship, setting the city of Toronto into a frenzy. Every subway stop, light post, and street corner were celebration points with thousands of happy fans cheering on their franchises major accomplishment.
I was certainly one of them, although my form of celebration was more subdued and confined to my living room chair! Unlike other sports fans who have witnessed their major sports teams winning multiple championships, this was the first time in my life when my favorite team has ever won a finals…in any sport. (Yes, that is sad I know)
This morning I was watching some of the highlights from the city and the party that continued well into the morning hours. A party not restricted by age, race, or gender.
Then, for my morning worship time I was reading from Psalm 34 and was meditating on these words.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
As I read and worshiped, I couldn’t help but think of the comparison between praising the things of life (like a Raptors title victory) and praise for God.
My mind went to C.S. Lewis’ famous quote, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
Praise is natural, but only praise to God is fully satisfying. Praise for a sports team, political victory, or personal accomplishment is exciting in the moment but does little to change our situation or mindset. I am no more a better person for praising the Raptors victory than if I had gone to bed before the game started.
With God, its different. Praise for him has a lingering impact on our lives. There is no hangover or emotional letdown. Instead, praise directed to him brings satisfaction in our souls and a sense of lasting joy that carries with us through the day. This joy shifts the way we see life in all of its emotional ups and downs.
Are you finding yourself excited about something happening in your life today? Celebrate it. But remember to direct your praise to God as the ultimate fulfillment of your enjoyment.