For the baseball enthusiast, the World Series is always fun to watch – the players, the coaches, the fans, and the celebrations when the winning team takes the title (maybe next year for the Braves). In those celebrations there is a wide range of emotions and displays. Some fall to their knees, others hug teammates, and some point to the sky with what I hope is a spirit of gratefulness.
Concerning gratefulness, there is the story of the World Series thirty years ago when the Los Angeles Dodgers won it all. Orel Hershiser was part of the pitching staff and it was by far the greatest year for him in the big leagues. He won the National League Cy Young Award, was named the National League Championship Series MVP and the World Series MVP. During the last game of the World Series, the television camera caught Orel in the dugout just before the 9th inning started. He was leaning against the wall of the dugout and his lips were moving, but no one was around him.
After all the celebrating of the championship, Orel was a guest on the Tonight Show. Johnny Carson brought up the scene from the 9th inning and asked Orel what he had been saying or if he was talking to anyone. Orel replied that he wasn’t saying anything. Johnny responded, “Well, then, if you weren’t saying anything, tell us what you were doing.” Orel paused and then replied, “I was singing.” Johnny said, “You were singing? I didn’t know you were a singer. Come on, let’s hear it!” Orel responded, “Nah, I don’t want to.” Suddenly the audience began clapping and yelling for him to sing.
After several moments went by, the audience quieted to see if Orel would sing for them. With a calmness and assurance that he displayed on the mound, Orel began singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” Johnny Carson was speechless. The entire audience was silent. Then one person stood up and started clapping. Soon, the whole audience joined in the applause.
It was simply Orel’s way of saying, “Lord, the only reason I’m a Most Valuable Player is because you’re a Most Valuable God. You’re the one who gave me the ability and you’re the reason my life has been so blessed.”
That attitude is what Thanksgiving is all about. When you think of what God has done for you – how He has blessed you, protected you, equipped you, strengthened you, and prepared you for His good works, you can’t help but sing praises to Him.
Is there a song in your heart? Is your life exemplifying appropriate praise?
The Apostle Paul expressed that praise in his letter to the Ephesians, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” It may be that he was singing those words as he penned them.
With a thankful heart,