Ascent Psalms: Psalm 131

Read Ascent Psalm 131 (preferably from the MESSAGE translation).

“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain…I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart…” (Psalm 131:1-2).

Small things are not necessarily bad! In this 21st century we live in a world of high expectations, grandiose visions, colossal plans, with boldly anticipated horizons. Modern technology has greatly assisted our dreams of monumental achievements. So, when little to nothing is happening and all is quiet, we immediately think of being a failure.

Small things are not bad! The psalmist here reminds us that there is a need for healthy stillness. In fact, in our anxious, frantic multi-tasking, our soul often becomes too heavily burdened. What a wondrous, mysterious idea to ponder: “…be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). (This was one of Luther’s favourite psalms.) Relaxing and saying “wait” to all the demanding agendas of my life may be a prescription for being re-energized. Unless we stop and look and listen to the wisdom of God, we will “play out” and remain exhausted.

Old prophet Zechariah sounded God’s declaration: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty”(4:6). Several verses later the Old Testament prophet asks the question, “Who despises the day of small things”(4:10)? In other words, though there is a day for hard work or hard play, the wisdom of the Sabbath for rest and re-creation is needed. Little, uneventful days and nights are not wasted gifts of God.

Going to school, doing research, preparing for exams, and all those academic requirements, still need to be balanced by quiet time, rest time, down time, namely “just doing nothing for a while.” A healthy, well-balanced person, younger or older, fosters times of enjoying “small things.”

Dear Jesus, I’m glad You enjoyed still waters and quiet, green pastures with flowers, those beautiful simple settings in which to rest and pray. Thanks for Your love of little children. Teach me the value of “small things” as gifts from Your creative heart.