When asked what it means to praise God, my then-four-year-old grandson Logan explained, “It’s when we tell God, ‘Good job!’” I chuckled when I heard that, but it got me thinking. Why are we told time and again in the Bible to praise God, to tell Him “Good job”? He deserves it, of course, because He certainly did a good job when He created us and our infinitely complex universe, and moment by moment He does a good job at holding it all together.
He deserves our praise and thanks for a job well done, that much is clear, but sometimes I wonder what He gets out of it. I’ve seen what praise can do for Logan or me or anyone else. I know how it builds us up, but does God really need that? He’s all-powerful and all-knowing. Surely, He already knows how great He is. Why would He need to hear that from us?
I think it’s mostly for our benefit. I think we need to hear it from us. We need to think about His goodness, and to put it into words. We need it, and for at least three reasons.
First, it puts things in perspective. It reminds us of our human limitations and frailties, and of God’s power and goodness toward us.
That leads to reason number two: it puts us on a positive path, in a hopeful frame of mind. That’s important, because we can’t even begin to trust God until we realize that none of the things that stand in our way are insurmountable, with His help.
Third and best of all, it brings us into loving communion with our Creator, whom to know is life eternal.1 That’s the purpose of this life, His reason for it all. It’s His ultimate goal and His daily wish for us. That’s what’s in it for Him and us both. When we tell God “Good job,” think about what we’re saying, and really mean it, we can experience a little bit of heaven on earth.
- See John 17:3.