Psalm 71 was before me this morning.
It opened with pleas, for God’s protection and presence, built upon the confidence that God had been present to the writer since his earliest moments.
And then verse 7:
“My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection.”
I observe a leeriness toward talk of “example”. Few are willing to tag such a label on to their own lives. Part of that is simple humility, an acknowledgment of imperfection. But part of it is less admirable. We are fearful to hold ourselves to such standards. We are overly casual in matters that truly… matter. And it can relieve the pressure we may feel to say up front, “I’m no example. Don’t watch me too closely.”
However, all of that is beside the point.
In Psalm 71:7, the thrust is upon God’s qualities; not the writer’s. His life had served as a canvas for divine mercy to be sketched out for all to see. God’s faithfulness was clear to see in this space, and in that sense, the writer invites all to observe and learn from what they see at work in his life.
What I take from here is a call to be faithful in the offering of myself to God. To create a life that can serve as a display case for God’s work, I must strive to be consistently attentive and solidly turned toward the Father. Experience (and Scripture) suggests that He responds to people in such postures. And as He does, the display of His work in my life can have an exemplary nature to it.
And I observe a need for such examples these days.
So give us strength to pursue You, Lord. Free us from destructive distractions and silly sidelines, that our lives might be suitable canvases for the display of Your loving kindness.