1 Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
My high school driver's ed teacher, Mr. Papini, used to tell us, "There are two kinds of people in the world: Italians and those who want to be Italians." Apparently Mr. Papini was not aware of the fallacy of the excluded middle, for we all know that between Italians and those who want to be Italians is the vast majority of humans who want to be ... never mind ... whatever I say here can be misunderstood and someone reading this might get offended. But here are more edifying "there are two kinds of people in the world...":
Now, the reading for today -- Psalm 1 -- presents its own version of "there are two kinds of people in the world." "The righteous" and "the wicked." The big difference between the two is whether they flourish or not. The righteous, according to the Psalm, live well -- life goes well, life feels good, life is productive and beautiful. Life is worth living, for the righteous. The righteous thrive in their environment like "trees planted by streams of water which yield their fruit in its season" and whose "leaves do not wither." The righteous life is a full, flourishing life.
The wicked -- "the way of the wicked" -- is not so. They will perish. We might grant the wicked temporary "success," but the quality of their lives cannot be one of flourishing, no matter their outward appearance. For the bottom line difference between the two has to do with the Lord. One delights in the Lord ("delights in the law of the Lord") and the other does not, delighting in something else.
To see our lives in Christ as one of flourishing is encouraging. And it's true! So may you be encouraged today that you are investing in a life worth living, a life of productivity, a life full of blessing and full of goodness.
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, thank you inviting us into a life that is beautiful, creative, happy, and full. Thank you that such a life counts -- counts here and now and counts for all eternity. May we see ourselves and our own lives as you see them, like trees planted by streams of (living) water. In your name, amen.