Have you ever known someone who makes every conversation all about them? Brian Regan, the comedian, calls them “Me-Monsters.” They’re lurking at the dinner party, in the church lobby, on social media, maybe even right outside your door. “Beware the Me-Monster!” (Click here for a 4-minute hilarious CLEAN clip)
The world needs more and better listeners – people less consumed with their own self-promotion and more interested in learning about others, people who ask deep questions and then wait in silence for honest answers to emerge, people who are comfortable in the complexity and confusion of chaos, people who welcome mystery with wonder.
Good friends are often described as good listeners. I’m blessed to have many friends like this. They are people with the gift of hospitality, the ability to make a welcoming space for me to feel truly known, cared for, and loved. I don’t have to perform when I’m around these people. I can simply “be.” Accepting an invitation to be with friends like this is so easy.
It’s like an invitation to a slow walk with God in the wilderness. Brought back to life in the presence of God’s amazing handiwork, I don’t have to say a word. My incessant need to solve all my problems is dwarfed by the grandeur of mountains lined with tamaracks, cedars, and firs. In the chatter of a squirrel, the buzzing of a bee, and the silent, cautious gaze of a deer, I hear the calming voice of God. “Look at these, Adam. Listen. These all look to me.”
The writer of Psalm 104 must’ve been taking a quiet wilderness walk when the overwhelming awareness of God’s provision inspired these words: “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty…” (Psalm 104:1 ESV)
If the Psalmist were a “Me-Monster,” it would be impossible to ascertain here. The ESV translation of Psalm 104 uses the pronouns “You/Your/He/His” 38 times in reference to God. The pronouns “I/me/my” are used 10 times, and these 10 instances are found in only 4 of the 35 verses which make up the Psalm.
Why the imbalance? Because when we enter into sacred space with God and others, and tune our hearts to listening, we can’t help but hear the Holy Spirit calling us to love. As we surrender, our focus shifts.
We are loved and cared for by a very good, very engaged, very active Creator and Provider who knows our every need. If you need to soak in that truth for awhile, read Psalm 104 slowly, out loud, and let the imagery do its work.
One verse in particular stands out to me in this Psalm: “These all look to you to give them their food in due season.” (Psalm 104:27)
Who, or what, are the “these”? The writer lists the beasts of the field, wild donkeys, birds of the heavens, livestock, plants, humans, trees (cedar and fir), wild goats, rock badgers, lions, sea creatures (including Leviathan). All of “these” look to God who opens his hand and fills them with good things.
I picture the psalmist sitting on a rock ledge looking out on a vista. The more the psalmist writes, the more the psalmist sees. The soul takes it in and soaks it up, returning it all back to God as praise and gratitude. Awareness leads to worship, and worship increases awareness.
Do you remember the last time you were aware of, and overwhelmed by, the wonder of God’s creation? Think back to that moment when you were captured by beauty and drawn to worship. The Psalmist wrote, “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.” (v.33-34)
You may not realize it, but even now God is speaking to you, caring for you, and loving you. You don’t have to be out in the wilderness to experience God’s love. You need only to be still. If you listen, you will hear. If you look, you will see.
How will you respond?
Jesus, we all look to you. Turn our gaze toward you and keep it there. Tune our hearts to hear your Holy Spirit speak. Feed us the food our souls crave and allow us to drink from your cup that never runs dry. Quench our thirst and satisfy our longing to be loved. Amen.