My Psalm reading for this week is Psalm 131. It’s just 3 short verses, but they are powerful. Today, I will consider the first verse:
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.” – Psalm 131:1 (NRSV)
Wow! That got me thinking. Is my head lifted up? Are my eyes raised too high? Do I occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me?
This last question is the one I’d really like you to consider today for yourself: do you occupy yourself with things too great and marvelous for you?
What do you suppose that means? To me, it’s all about trying to take control of things that are not ours to control. It’s about imagining that we, somehow, are in control, instead of God. It’s the opposite of placing our trust in God.
When I get a little too worked up about national or global politics (as opposed to whatever I can actually influence here in my local sphere), I am probably occupying myself with things too great and marvelous for me. Similarly, when I start to worry about the future of all of humankind, I’m probably occupying myself with things too great and marvelous for me. (It’s true that God grants us each great powers by the Holy Spirit; however, while those powers are great, they are not limitless.)
But there’s more. Even when I DO focus more locally, my focus can stray to things beyond me. For example, when I start to think of all the things someone ELSE (besides me) should be doing, I am probably occupying myself with things too great and marvelous for me. God gave me the ability to control my own actions, to some extent, and to influence (at most) the actions of some of the people around me. When I strive for more than that, I am striving for too much; I am trying to take the role reserved for God (or that God reserved for someone else), and things get very messy.
What do you think? – Pastor Brad