Staying Aware

Do you ever find yourself zoning out while driving? Not being distracted by devices or music or anything, just reflexively cruising down the road on a drive you’ve made countless times, almost on autopilot, as your mind wanders. Suddenly, you snap back to awareness & realize you’ve gone 20 miles without truly paying attention to the road – if you’re lucky. This mind-wandering behind the wheel is a somewhat common phenomenon, especially in occupations working long hours centered around transit, but as all distracted driving, can easily become deadly in the wrong situation. 

The writer of Psalm 50 describes how God is the judge of righteousness, and how the wicked will be accordingly dealt with – but also, warns readers to consider the reason for sacrifice. In verses 12-13, the obvious is stated about God: “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” In the days of animal sacrifice, it wasn’t the food & sustenance God needed – the whole world and everything within is His already. It is the giving of thanks symbolized that pleases God; the trust that in giving what you have, God will provide what you need. The glorification and gratitude of the giving to God is what pleases Him, not the things you give that come from Him in the first place. 

Does a sacrificial life ever become something you zone out on? Do you ever find yourself giving your time and donating what you have to help others simply because it’s just a thing you do, rather than because your heart seeks to glorify & thank God for providing & giving you the opportunity to share what you have? It can be easy to fall into a routine and grow used to making a weekly donation or volunteering every so often just to make ourselves feel good or simply out of habit – such is the pride of human nature. But this scripture warns us that it’s not the sacrifice God intends for us – it’s the complete, fully intentional, joyful heart that does so that He wants from us. As verse 22 exclaims, “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

Hebrews 13:15 reminds us “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.” Psalm 50 reminds us our true sacrifice is the praise and thankfulness we demonstrate to God in our acknowledgement of His good, rather than a simple act which can be done by just anyone. Yes, the giving itself is good and pleasing and necessary, but it is in the joyous hearts and lips that praise Him that please Him. I pray for self-awareness and strength of mind today, that His goodness and righteousness would always be on my heart and aware in my mind – not to simply coast on habit of giving, but to actively seek & thank Him for what gifts I have to give. I pray this joy would be what motivates me to give joyfully what I have for Him, and to praise His name at all times on the forefront of my mind & in my life.