Psalm 16, NRSV
1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Most of us have spiritual heroes who serve as exemplars of the faith and how we should live our lives as disciples of Jesus. One of my heroes is St. Thomas Aquinas, who was an Italian friar, priest, philosopher, and teacher in the 1200s. He wrote many theological works that have influenced many throughout the ages, including our own John Wesley. He saw everything he wrote as a service to God and to the Church.
At the end of his life, legend has it that Aquinas had a mystical experience in which a stained glass image of Jesus Christ came to life and began to speak to him. Jesus said, “You have spent your life serving me so well. As a reward I will give you anything that you desire.” Thomas Aquinas is quoted to have responded in Latin saying “non nisi te, Domine” which means “nothing but you, O Lord” in English.
This story is a perfect illustration of the message of this psalm. The psalmist sings of a relationship with God that powers over everything else. They realize that they have nothing apart from God, and if given the chance to have anything in this world they would choose God alone. This story and psalm have gripped my heart because it is the right spirit and desire we should all strive for as disciples. Not only should we desire to serve God honorably, but even if God does extend to us anything we might want we should hope to have the right humility and desire for God alone.
God, I humbly ask that as I grow closer to you by your grace that you would lead me to having a desire that is solely for you alone. I ask that everything I would do would be pleasing to you and be led by your Holy Spirit who is always present with me. Amen.