Now [Jesus] came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." He answered, "I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!" Luke 19:37-40 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Across the street from my subdivision, there is a large pile of stones that has been laid down to stop the erosion of the earth that was dug up to install our traffic light. I have passed the pile countless times in the last month since it appeared, but this morning I remembered a statement that Jesus made about stones in the gospel of Luke. Christ's followers were joyfully expressing their unabashed praise of Jesus, which made the learned and religious people very uncomfortable. When they asked Jesus to basically tell His disciples to shut up!, Jesus answered them by saying that if His own did not praise Him, the very stones on the road would cry out.
When was the last time you and I were involved in praise that silenced the stones? I am a pessimist married to the eternal optimist. God has such a sense of humor in the pairing of spouses. Rob sees the cup half full; I see it half empty. Rob always believes in the best outcome happening; I prepare for the storm before a hint of the thundercloud. It is not my first inclination to praise my God. I have to make a conscious decision to praise Him because my natural bent is to look for the worst case scenario in every situation.
In the last several years, the Lord has really worked on me in this area. I have discovered the power of exuberant praise even when my circumstances defy any reason for it. There is always something to praise my God for. Always. I have air in my lungs, food in my refrigerator, a healthy family, and a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Most of the time, however, my tendency is to confuse my wants with my needs and I can start feeling disgruntled.
Praise is my choice. I do not have to participate in it. The Lord has no ego that makes Him demand my praise, even though He could. He lets me decide how I am going to view life--through eyes of ungratefulness and complaining or eyes that see His goodness in everything. But this passage in Luke tells me that He is going to be praised one way or another. I have decided that I am going to be one of those who join in unabashed praise of my great God today. There is no way I am going to be shown up by a dumb rock! Who is going to join me in praise loud enough to silence those stones?