I’ve been thinking about glory. Where does it come from? Who is entitled to it? Where does glory fit into the Christian faith and life?
Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “There’s no telling what can be accomplished if doesn’t matter who gets the glory.” It’s an important proverb for any work group, family, or organization where teamwork and collaboration are important.
I’ll go you one better: “There’s no telling what can be accomplished if God gets the glory.” The emphasis in my version of the proverb is not only upon selflessness and teamwork. The emphasis is on giving God the credit for what we accomplish.
The concept of glorifying God is ancient. The Bible is full of examples. So are the writings of theologians, artists, and mystics through the ages. Here are a few examples:
The sun shall no longer be
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory. – Isaiah 60:19
Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to your Name give glory;
because of your love and because of your faithfulness. - Psalm 115:1
Jesus said, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:16
St. Paul said, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” - I Corinthians 10:31
It’s really a fairly simple yet profound concept. Human beings were created in the image of God to be the crowning glory of God’s creation. The glory, therefore, belongs to God. It is our privilege and purpose to glorify God and, when possible, to inspire others to do so as well. Glorifying God is our mission, our delight, and our ultimate purpose. Our aim is to do everything for God's glory to the exclusion of our own self-glorification and pride. Christians are to be motivated and inspired by God's glory and not their own.
St. Irenaeus of Lyon said, “The glory of God is a fully alive human being.”
The Westminster Catechism says it this way, “The chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy God for ever.”
Musicians such as Bach and Handel dedicated their music by writing Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone) on their manuscripts.
After writing to the Galatian Christians about his life and witness, St. Paul concludes with, “And they glorified God because of me” (Galatians 1:24). Everybody needs a pat on the back from time to time. It is good to affirm and recognize others in our lives. But the highest compliment we can pay others is to let them know their life has inspired us to give glory to God.
Soli Deo Gloria.
I’ll see you in Church!
P.S. Here is Patrick Doyle's setting of that first verse of Psalm 115, composed for the movie "Henry V." The Latin Non Nobis Domine = Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory.