Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them. Psalm 34:1-7 ESV
Some of the kids from Mrs. Walter’s class were talking together before school. Before long, their conversation turned into bragging. Sara bragged about the new shoes she had, and Annika bragged about her new haircut. Bill started to talk about his new computer game, and Joe wanted to tell everyone about the smartphone his parents had just bought for him. As soon as one person talked about something, everyone else tried to think of a better story to show that he or she had something even better or more exciting. What was especially silly about their conversation was that the things they were bragging about weren’t even very important things. They didn’t talk about how much their Moms or Dads loved them, or how nice their school was, or how happy they were because they were healthy. It was just little, unimportant things that can’t really make anyone happy that they were talking about.
Jeremiah spoke God’s words to the people and warned them about boasting, or bragging. People who thought they were wise sometimes bragged about how wise they were, and how they were sure they knew how to best handle difficult situations. People who were strong and powerful boasted about how they could get things done and have their way because of their strength. People who were rich couldn’t stop talking about how much property they had and all the things they could do because of their wealth. But wisdom, power, and wealth are all gifts from God, yet no one was talking about the Lord. All of these other gifts from God can be lost or misused, but knowing the Lord and his goodness and righteousness is the best thing of all. It seemed that no one cared about God or his love and justice. They just wanted to brag about their own things.
God has given us many gifts, big and small, and it’s good to be thankful for all of them. But it’s also important to understand which gifts are important and which are really pretty unimportant. The very best gift of all came when God sent Jesus, his Son, to be our Savior. Nothing that we are or have could ever win us God’s love, but Jesus came to die on the cross for us so that we could be forgiven and be God’s children forever. As long as we have God’s love, nothing else is really very important, and nothing can take God’s love away from us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all your good gifts, and especially for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.