The First And Last Thing You Do
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.”
What is the first thing you do when the alarm clock rings, awakening you to another day full of exciting possibility and challenging demands? Perhaps you are one of those who rolls over and mumbles, “Good Lord, morning!” Or maybe you are the type who pops up with delight and expectation by greeting the One who gave you the gift of yet another day with, “Good morning, Lord!”
Obviously, David was of the latter variety. Not that he was an overly optimistic person—in fact, much of David’s life was lived by keeping just one step ahead of death. But he had come to appreciate the presence and protection of God so much that most of his waking moments were spent connecting with his Lord.
David was a man who had truly learned to practice the presence of God. First thing in the morning, David lifted his voice to God—and before he did anything else, he waited for a reply (that’s what he means when he says, “and will look up”). But that was also the last thing David did when he hit the sheets at night. He prayed in Psalm 119:62, “At midnight I will rise to give you thanks.”
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why David was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” What do you suppose would happen if you and I took on David’s practices? Maybe we would develop that kind of heart after God too!
Let me suggest a 30-day trial—that the last thing you do when you go to bed is to recount as many things as you can think of for which you are grateful, and the first thing you do when you arise in the morning is lift your voice to God with gratitude that he has given you the gift of another day.
To give thanks is one of the highest callings we have and one of the most self-benefiting things we can do. Think about this: Even sitting where you are reading this devotional is a cause for thanksgiving to God. The prophet Jeremiah declared in Lamentations 3:22, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.”
G. K. Chesterton, who would say at the end of the day, “Here ends another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands [to experience this] great world around me. Tomorrow begins another day. Why am I allowed two?”
Chesterton, Jeremiah and David had the perspective that all of life was a gift from God. Let’s you and I practice that perspective, too, every morning and evening for the next month. I have a feeling that the discipline of thankful prayer will turn into the delight of thankful prayer long after those 30 days are up.
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
—Ambrose, Bishop of Milan