An oft' neglected choice

It’s so easy to complain. Have you noticed that? Things don’t go right – someone cuts you off on the freeway, the doctor’s office is jammed and you wait hours just to see her, it rains the day of your picnic, you gained two pounds just because you looked at chocolate – and the list goes on… Some of us work hard at not complaining, and we can even come to terms with some form of contentment. But to go one step further and praise, now that’s hard to do!

Praise is something we often neglect with God. The Bible calls it a sacrifice, and I can see why. We sacrifice our own pride, our own right to control, our own expectations, our own demands for the way we think things should be. When we praise God in spite of our circumstances, we acknowledge that He knows what He’s doing, and we show our willingness to step back and let Him be God.

Praise is also something we often neglect with people. Those whose work goes unrecognized, who feel underrated and unworthy. People who spend hours working behind the scenes, often all alone, and they wonder if what they do matters. Does anyone notice or care? Is their work really worth all of the effort? Especially if they are working for more than a paycheck, but pushing with all they have to fulfill a dream. Perhaps they are the nurse who faithfully cares for the patient in a coma or the teacher who spends his summer buying supplies and planning projects to make learning fun. Or the soldier who obeys the commands of those in authority and risks his life to save another, to defend a nation.

A little word of gratitude, a note of thanksgiving, or a mouthful of praise can go a long way in showing appreciation for the often neglected people in this world. We would trade our penchant to complain for a more joyful spirit. It's a lesson I need to learn and remember - to make the oft' neglected choice and praise God for all that He’s done, and then turn around and thank someone around me for their hard work as well.