25–31 August 2019.
Doing something nice for someone is rarely easy. Making a special meal for someone we love involves long hours of preparation and cooking. Planning a family holiday means working hard all year, saving money, and not buying the little things we would like for ourselves. In our world, time and resources are limited. So doing something for someone else’s benefit can often mean giving up something of our own. But nevertheless we still willingly make those sacrifices because we aren’t thinking of ourselves but rather the joy we will bring to those we love.
The writer of Psalm 132 reminds us that David had this experience too. David wanted to do something great for the God he loved. David wanted to build a grand temple to glorify God. But in v. 1 the psalm writer tells us that to get this plan started David also had to go through many sufferings.
Maybe to other people the sacrifices we make out of love don’t make much sense. Maybe others don’t understand why we would willingly give up something or face troubles just to do something nice for someone else. Too many people in society encourage us just to think of ourselves first before others. But that’s not the way love works. Love isn’t selfish, and love isn’t concerned just about its own gains. The same is true in our faith life.
David wanted to do something great for God. And so he didn’t just focus on gaining something for himself. Preparing a temple was hard, but it was a work of love. But as verse 15 tells us, David’s act of love actually did bring blessings: not just to David and his family but to the whole community. All Jerusalem, and especially the poor and needy, were blessed because of David’s act of love.
The same is very true today. We devote our lives to God and we want to serve God as an expression of our love. But our acts of love also brighten the whole world and bring blessings to those around us. Faithful people are a blessing to every city, because when we love and obey God we also serve those around us. We support the sick and elderly, we are friends with the lonely, and we care for all who are struggling. Again, none of that is easy, and it does involve some sacrifice. But these actions are a sign of our love for God.
It’s no surprise then that Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:13–16 that we Christians will be the salt and light of the world. That’s because even though our little acts of love aren’t always easy, they truly do make the world a better and brighter place.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis