Domo Arigato

Psalm 150 is known as one of the places in the Bible where praise is most heavily concentrated in one small place [1]. A survey of its contents reveals why this is the case: “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary;

praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” In these six verses, the word praise is used thirteen times, more than twice each verse. It is not coincidental that this particular psalm, which tells us where we are to praise God, both in public prayer at church and in private prayer directed at God in heaven, what we are to praise God for, what instruments we are to praise God with, and what beings will praise God. The point is clear, that universal praise of God is the outgoing result of our faith in God, a fitting closing to the book of Psalms, where despite the ups and downs of the lives of believers, our works end in praise. Either people will praise God for our presence in their lives, or our judgment will lead others to praise God finally executing justice on us. Either way, the end will be praise.

As I blog about from time to time [2], I am a user of a data service called Domo and one of the more active members of their user community. Despite the fact that others are far more technically qualified than I am when it comes to writing queries or working with some of the more intense and esoteric elements of data feeds, I am still notable for being friendly and giving likes and kudos to others. As it happens, earlier today the June newsletter for the user community was released, and not surprisingly I ended up with a solution, and praise for giving the most likes, which I regularly and consistently do. In a note attached to a previous month’s report it was noted that I was the first user with an orange belt (the third level up on the Domo system), which happened about a month and a half ago or so. Although I consider myself fairly modestly qualified when it comes to technical applications, my interest in communication and culture does provide some advantages in helping others out, and directing them to places where their questions can be solved, and in helping them refine and explain their questions. Occasionally this results in solving their problems by conceptual understanding apart from a great deal of technical expertise.

For someone who delights in giving praise as much as I do, I often find it very uncomfortable to receive verbal praise, or to receive a panic-inducing surprise pat on the back. Nevertheless, in looking around it appears that an absence of praise in some form is one of the factors that makes it difficult for people to do and to keep doing what is good. One of the parts of social media I like the best is the ability to give discreet ‘thumbs up’ to others to give encouragement and support and approval of that which I like, be it a clever and witty and thought-provoking comment or post, or whether it is a cute photograph or drawing. I may not always feel it necessary to make a comment on something, but often I like to show appreciation of the sharing of others, especially where there is something praiseworthy to be appreciated. Yet while I find a lot that I enjoy praising, I also like to do it quietly, and in a way that does not draw too much attention to my identity as the one giving praise, lest instead of praise and encouragement it would bring discomfort and irritation to others, wasting my good efforts.

There are times, though, where the absence of praise can be a deeply unfortunate matter. Given my general personality and friendliness and personal interests, I have a wide variety of friends who are very accomplished, often in areas like sewing or visual art where I have virtually no native ability. Yet when I seek to give praise to them for their God-given gifts, with sincere and openhearted generosity of spirit, it is clear that these people are simply not used to being praised and appreciated. This is a great evil. If we are to be grateful to God for what we have been given, we must be cognizant of our gifts, must hone them over time and improve them, and then must use them in ways that bring glory and honor and praise to our Heavenly Father, from whom the gifts came. Yet this process is often short-circuited by an absence of praise. We may be afraid that too much praise will cause others to get a swelled head, but in our age of ridicule and difficulty, it is far more frequent that people are praised too little to recognize their worth. May we not be guilty of that sin ourselves with the people in our lives, for to the extent that we serve as discouragers of others, we will have to answer for it. Let us rather receive praise for the praise that we give, so that we may be good sons and daughters of encouragement.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church of God, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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