When I read how the psalmist describes growing, flourishing, fruitful people in today’s text, I remember our family trip to Kenya. During the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever experienced, I looked over the Masai Mara and encountered a breathtaking view. The Mara’s animals and trees comprise a landscape and ecosystem that’s nothing short of miraculous. As I watched through tears, noticing everything from shrubs and trees to lions, wildebeests, and dung beetles, I felt overwhelmed by the role that each one plays to make this beautiful world pulse with life.
As I recall that sunrise, I’m struck again by what a significant contribution each small segment of wildlife makes to the ecosystem’s greater good. In this picture of the grand kingdom of God, each of us is relevant and uniquely gifted for God’s glory.
But oh, how our humanity redefines what it means to be relevant. Instead of focusing our energy on loving God and loving our neighbor, we succumb to society’s demands that we be more concerned about status, influence, and personal desire. God’s kingdom is carelessly left behind as we start using an entirely different system of measurement to determine our own significance.
The psalmist makes it clear that our relevance to the whole comes through the righteousness God requires. A life marked by praise and goodness and faithfulness contributes to the greater good that we could never achieve on our own. How freeing it feels when we release the chains of what the world calls “relevant” and choose instead to live fully into the definition of who God created us to be. To quote the Apostle Paul, that would be “the life that really is life”—a life that grows and flourishes and produces fruit in old age (1 Tim 6:19).
What part of your life do you need to release to step more fully into God’s kingdom?
Holy God, grow us into the righteous servants you created us to be so that we may bear fruit in your name throughout our days. Amen.