That knife above isn’t much to look at. A bone handle yellowed from age and contact with a fisherman’s hand. A small blade, with much of its essence sacrificed from sharpening. But each time I open the tackle box and see dad’s old knife, I think of him. How he transmitted a love of stream fishing. How he showed me the courage a man should have. How he demonstrated sacrificing for others. How he gave me that knife when emphysema robbed him of the ability to journey to his beloved Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Each look keeps those memories fresh, makes me appreciate him more, and restores the closeness we shared, even though he’s been gone 35 years.
Appreciating God works like that. The more we think of his good gifts, his guidance, his blessings, his redemption, then the closer we get to him. In the King James Version (slightly clarified here) David wrote that God inhabits the praise of his people. Or, God lives where his people appreciate and thank him. Now, I don’t think God has such a weak ego that he needs our praise. Rather, we benefit from remembering what he’s done and intentionally expressing that. We get closer to him.
He occupies more of our thoughts. Our appreciation for him grows. We become more aware of his goodness. We connect, even though he isn’t physically with us—much like the metaphor of dad’s knife.
The more we think of a person in a positive manner (and this works for spouses and friends too) the closer we get. They “inhabit” more of our thoughts and lives.
A few tips on praising God that have worked for me. Identify each good thing that occurs as a God-gift, and thank him. Identify each negative thing as a chance for God to work in you, and thank him. Look back on past negatives, and identify how he got you through and used you, and thank him. When appropriate, tell others about what he’s done.
Then, just watch your intimacy grow.
Kick Starting the Application
Does praise inhabit the bulk of your life, or does apathy or criticism? What effect does this have on your closeness to God? Have you experienced the greater intimacy that comes from praise? What can you do this week, or right now, to make praise a greater part of your walk with him?
PS Yeah, the old battered wicker creel was his as well. And I still use his 75 year old split bamboo fly rod.