Memo 1095: Your Editor(s)
Let's continue to identify PowerPoints for Living in this series that will help you live an abundant life on the throne—the position of purpose and authority that God has given you. These PowerPoints are important because some don't want more responsibility that comes with an expanded role in their world, but God is looking for increase and growth. Therefore, if you want to please Him, you must accept the place He has for you and not only tend it but nurture it so it can grow. I think of the proverb that says, "The blessing of the LORD brings [true] riches, and He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God]" (Proverbs 10:22, AMP).
This week, let's begin to look at the psalms that David wrote to see what we can learn about the man so we can appropriate those lessons into our own pursuit of the true riches of an abundant life. To start, let's go to the start of the Psalms. Shall we begin?
There are 150 psalms in the entire book, and it looks like David wrote at least 73 of them, maybe more. Some historians attribute all the psalms to David but that doesn't appear to be the case. Whoever wrote them, they're a magnificent collection of prayers, songs, and declarations that have shaped the devotional and worship life, first of Israel and then of the church. We usually treat the psalms like a box of chocolates, looking through them all to choose one that fits our taste or need of the moment. If we are downcast, we want one that will uplift. If we are discouraged, we look for one that will encourage. If we're persecuted, we look for the one that asks God to smash our enemies in the face. Yet have you ever considered the psalms as a whole?
The psalms were written over hundreds of years. At some point, perhaps during the Babylonian captivity, the scribes of Israel (and we don't know who they were), set out to put the psalms in some kind of order. You may not pay attention to the headings, but they assembled the psalms into five books in a specific order, each book having a general theme that contains a progressive message. Then there are the headings that give us an idea of the context when the psalm was penned. I've written a fable that examines the psalms and the themes of the five books titled My Enemies My Friends. I encourage you to get a copy and learn more about the intricacies of the Psalms as a whole. For now, I only want to make some points about David's role in the psalms themselves.
David wrote psalms. I don't know if he knew they were inspired but he and others knew God was speaking through him. He composed his psalms in good times and bad. At times, he shared his raw emotions and someone collected what he wrote and preserved them, even taking them with the people when they went into exile six centuries after David died. Then someone, probably a team of men, sat down to put the psalms in the order we have today in such a way that there didn't just contain messages in the individual psalms but also in the order in which they were edited and presented. in other words, the psalms as we know then today were a team effort.
If you are going to live the abundant life, you will need to be part of a team too, but first, you have to produce fruit. That fruit may be creative expressions or lives touched, but the abundant life is more than going to church and staying out of trouble. It's being the fullest, best expression of who God made you to be. However, then you have to submit what you produce to people who can distribute it, examine it, enhance it, or criticize it. But they'll make it better, or should I say they'll make you better, and do things with what you produce that you may never have thought of or even like. In other words, everyone needs a good editor, someone who may not be too kind to what you produce but who can make it better or sharper, with more of an edge.
David wrote and composed—that's what he could contribute. Then someone recognized the worth of what he did. That's what they could do. Then someone carried them on the long journey so they could be preserved and ready by future generations. That's what they could do. Then someone edited them and put them all together. That's what they could do. This week's PowerPoint can be summarized as follows:
You need editors, people who will give you input, make what you do and who you are better and more relevant, and help you recognize your worth, even helping to distribute or apply what you do in ways you never thought of or thought possible.
Are you now willing to do what you can do and trust God to do what only He can through the gifts and perspective of others? Who are your "editors"? Who challenges you to do more and to make what you do better? Who speaks into your life to challenge you not to accept the status quo or the label "good enough"? Are you willing to submit your life's work to the handling and mishandling of others, trusting that God is in the process?
Purpose and creativity aren't neat and orderly, but are expressed in the midst of life's uncertainties and imperfections. The good news is that the certain and perfect One is overseeing the process. It's time for you to step up and be who God made you to be, even if it's to edit or compile the work of someone else. Have a blessed week!