A Zoo’s Pondering (part three): Made for the Boast

A Zoo’s Pondering (part three): Made for the Boast

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he knows and understands me, … .’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24a).

I am reminded again this day that my words, both written and spoken, are of little consequence to the world, but hold sacred relevance to God. What God deems worthy is not often received as such in the eyes of man.

I could boast of my stripes.

I could boast of my strut.

I could boast of wisdom, strength, and riches, but at the end of the day, the only boast worthy of my lips is the boast that speaks and lives the name Jesus.


All other entitlements won’t linger once I’m in the grave. Oh, they may make their way onto a tombstone or into a scrapbook or maybe even documented within history books. But the only book that holds significance for me is the one that my Father holds.

When I stand before God, it matters not what men say. It matters what he will say, and the words I most long to hear are his words of sacred commendation about the life I lived while on this earth.

Well done, child. You lived it like you meant it. You listened and you learned. You gave and then you gave some more. You poured it out, even when the reserves ran low. You kept to the task at hand. You pressed on when the pressing was hard. You loved the most excellent way, and you led others to do the same. You put the spotlight where it was best served, while you were content to linger in the shadows. You did it, child. You lived life as I intended for you to walk it. With faith. With hope. With love and with trust. Come now and share in your Master’s happiness for always.

That’s it. That’s a lot. That’s everything to me.

Too often, however, my boast is leveled at self. God has trusted me with certain gifts. He’s done the same with you. Our temptation is to linger in the truth of that gift and to make more of it than we should. We package our boast with just the right polish and pride and take to the stage with a sanctified, yet sometimes reckless intent. He allows us our stage. In fact, he trusts us with it. But when the spotlight shifts from the Sacred to the self, the intent of our giftedness lays as waste before the threshold of heaven.

We forsake the purpose of heaven for the pursuit of worldly praise. We don’t mean to. Not really. But our best intentions are not enough to keep us from making the subtle shift from Thee to me. In our flesh we are prone to posing for the camera. To boasting about our stripes and our strut and our penchant for showing our backside when things don’t go our way.

Our flesh left “as is” will never suffice the framing of sacred intent. Flesh and blood and will and want must find its way to the fire of a holy purification if it is ever to breathe with kingdom focus and kingdom gain.

Riches and wisdom and strength may carry us through this lifetime. But it is Jesus Christ who will carry us into our next.

And at the end of the day…at the end of this life, my next is all that matters to me.

I am no longer content to do life as usual. Quite frankly, most days I grow weary with the usual. It’s hard to keep focus on the here and the now, when the ache in my heart cries out for my there and my then.

Then, I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” (Rev. 21:1-4).

That, my friends is my then. And my then, is the only boast that is worthy of these lips. For as long as my words can voice and my pen can write, you will find me keeping to the task of God’s sacred intention. Should I stray toward an unordained spotlight that allows this heart any other boast, I pray for the mighty arm of my God to knock me to my knees and to send me to my humbling.

I speak that from the purest place of my heart this night. My tears drop as my witness.

This life is going fast. I don’t have to tell you that. You have your own ways of measuring such a truth. Let us not spend it on the little, my friends. Let us spend on the lot. His name is Jesus, and he can be known and understood and lived on purpose for a greater gain that exists beyond ourselves. No applause of man can exceed the applause of heaven.

And in case you haven’t heard, every last one of us was made for the ovation of a Savior who stood on our behalf over 2000 years ago on a stage where we gladly gave him the spotlight. His gift, alone, should be enough to sanctify our lives from this point forward. Wouldn’t you agree? It is time we get over ourselves—our strut, our stripes, and our boast—and get on with the business of boasting in Him. This is the prayer of my heart tonight, and so I pray…

Sanctify my life with the boast of heaven. Let not my words breathe as hollow, but let them breathe with the sacred intent of bringing others into the knowledge and truth of Jesus Christ. For whatever time I have left on this earth, let it spend for you, Lord. Not for the accolades of mankind. You are my King, and you have promised me a crown that far exceeds my temporal treasures. When I close my eyes on this earth, let them close in peace, knowing that I have walked your purpose for my life. Amen and Amen.

Copyright © July 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.

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18 Responses to A Zoo’s Pondering (part three): Made for the Boast

  1. Oh Elaine the guilt of strutting and showing off my stripes weighs on me sometimes. I don’t want pride to come between us – I want Him to be my pride. But sometimes I stumble. I guess we all do, but I wish I didn’t and I hope to do better tomorrow and tomorrow. Blessings, marlene

  2. No applause of man can exceed the applause of heaven.

    Thank you once again for reminding me of my purpose and goal for this life.

    …All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Heb.11:13-16)

    Looking for that city…

    Keep pressing on my sweet friend♥

  3. Elaine-you have hit the nail on the head with this one for sure. I have had thoughts of asking my husband to put on my tombstone “And [she] overcame him [satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [her] testimony…”~~Rev. 12:11

    I noticed you asked for prayer on Lysa’s site..I hope all is well. I am lifting you up!!

    In His Graces~~Pamela

  4. Lovely analogies Elaine. I appreciate the connections you draw between simple things you encounter and what God is speaking to you. (I try to do the same thing.)

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I’m glad it is ministering to you. Know that there is great blessing in stepping beyond yourself to follow the path He’s laid in your heart. I’ve seen that the dreams He gives are almost always beyond what we can do ourselves because he desires to come along with us and fill in the gaps. I will be excited to see what His plans are for you.

  5. Elaine,

    My favorite one of this series so far. Amen! I sometimes well actually quite often have to remind myself of this very thing. I am doing so much better though cause our Lord puts us where we need to be sometimes for a reason and a lesson. Praise the Lord for this one! Thanks, Elaine! Love you!

  6. Elaine,
    God has certainly given you a gift for writing! I have really enjoyed your posts.

    I love your phrase “unordained spotlight.” Today on my Thirstin’ for the Word post, I spoke about how we turn our achievements into idols and rely on our own attempts at adequacy rather than on God.

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

  7. Our thoughts are running parallel this week. Sacrificing my own praise to boast in His, is a continual goal to which I must constantly tend.


    Thanks for the Word this morning!

  8. That was beautiful, Elaine.

    In everything good in our lives, we should only want the focus on Jesus, not our stripes and struts. (I love your comparisons with the animals.)

    If you get a chance today, go to the Links I Like to Lurk section of my blog and click on My Blessings From Above. Today she has an incredible video about some lions. With your Zoo Ponderings I think that you will love it.

    Have a lovely day friend!
    God Bless,

  9. Echoing your prayer today. Your reflections parallel my recent reading in My Utmost for His Highest on the death of self.
    Thank you again. Would appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom and freedom.

  10. WOW…as always, you SO challenge me with God’s truth and his word.

    God has been teaching me the importance of being “broken”, “humble”, and “surrendering”…because it is ALL about him, and nothing about me!!

    Keep on ….keeping on….


  11. Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness”.

    I see we’re both longing for our lives to glorify Him and waiting to hear His “well done” today.

    Living for Him, because He died for me,

  12. You are absolutely right again! Not our stripes but His! He is so worthy of all our praise. May our lives all point to Him. His love, His mercy, His hope, His peace, and His sacrafice.

    Thanks Elaine for your words, Thank you Lord for giving them to her. She blesses us so.

  13. Your teachings are so vivid and contain so much truth in them. Thank you for this beautiful heartfelt reminder.

    Prayers and blessings,

    Praying for you.

  14. You remind us that powerful lessons – modern day parables – exist right before our eyes. Awesome. Thus I would pray we each have the eyes to see and ears to hear the things the Lord would show us – even at the Zoo!


  15. Thank you for sharing your “ponderings” from your visit to the zoo! I have been to the zoo many times, but did not see these spiritual insights when looking at the different animals. God has, indeed, entrusted you with a special gift!

    And, yet, when you think about it, in Christ we form one body,
    and each member belongs to the other
    and together we make up the bride of the Lamb.
    We can rejoice together in the gifts that God gives. And we are so blessed by the spiritual gifts that God gives to your part of the body!

    And in the temptation to “boast” which is in the flesh of all of us, God is removing the chaff in our lives so that He can present the bride “as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”


  16. What a great post. This really spoke to me. I love this study… and want this to be the cry of my heart…

    “Sanctify my life with the boast of heaven”

    May I only boast in Christ.

  17. wifeforthejourney:

    Stripes or strut, I am well aquainted with both. My pride is something I have struggled with all my life, and it has certainly provided some of my worst moments.

    Thank you for your own example of Christian humility as you live out your own calling right there in our home. You are good for all of us!


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