In your opinion, what is the most important word in the Bible?
And you can’t say God or Jesus.
I’m sure if I surveyed pastors on this question, I would hear answers like…
But I want to suggest a different word. It is a word that is tossed around a lot in Christian circles. It is found frequently in our worship songs, and we mention it regularly in our prayers. What I’m talking about is a word that describes God’s essence. It is a word that expresses the sum total God’s attributes. The “word” that might be the most important word in the Bible is the word GLORY.
In 1643 the English parliament pulled together some of the greatest theologians and biblical scholars of the day. These men met at Westminster Abbey over a period of 5 years. One of the results of their meetings was a document called the Shorter Westminster Catechism. This catechism answered a series of doctrinal and theological questions. Question #1 was “What is the chief end of man?” Their answer was just 11 words. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “
This distinguished group of scholars and students of Scripture said the ultimate purpose for which man exists is to GLORIFY GOD.
The Hebrew word for glory is “kabod” and derives from a root word that has the basic mean of “heavy” or “weighty”. The “weightiness” or abundance of God’s amazing attributes make up his glory.
Ancient Hebrews would refer to a rich person as “heavy in wealth,” much like we might refer to someone who is rich as being “loaded”. So, when it comes to God, we could say he is loaded with power, splendor, beauty, holiness and love.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says that this amazing glory resides in us. It resides in you as a pastor. You are a carrier of the glory of god.
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
I know that being a pastor can some days just feel like a job. But I want to remind you today that you are an outpost of God’s glory, no matter where you serve or how big your church.
I want to give you 2 practical challenges when it comes to the glory of God.
1. Contemplate (ponder) God’s glory
What does it mean to “contemplate”? It means to think about, meditate on, linger over, soak in.
You can’t contemplate in a hurry. You can notice, glance, look, and scan in a hurry, but you can’t contemplate in a hurry.
If you want a great marriage, you have to become a student of your spouse. If you want a great walk with God, you must become a student of God’s character and glory and beauty.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 NIV)
So, the next time you pick up your Bible, don’t hurry. Contemplate! It is an opportunity to ponder the beauty and wonder of God’s character. Each story and passage reveals a facet of God’s glory.
When I contemplate the glory of God we are reminded of the high and holy calling that we have in representing God to our people.
2. Serve with Bodacious Boldness
In that same passage in 2 Corinthians 3 that talks about God’s glory, verse 12 says
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
Since we have the hope of God’s glory, we can live boldly.
What does God’s glory have to do with living boldly?
If God’s glory is actually, literally real…
- And the glory of God can settle on Mt. Sinai so that it looks like the top of the mountain is on fire
- And if Moses can encounter just a glimpse of the back side of God’s glory and it literally causes his face to shine
- And if the beauty of the created universe is God’s glory on display
- And if Jesus was the glory of God in concentrated form
- And if heaven won’t need an electric power plant because the glory of God lights it up
If all that is true, I can live with confidence and boldness, because our God is real. And He is large and in charge. He is not sitting up in heaven wringing his hands about the chaos in our world. And we don’t have to wring our hands and panic either.
So, follow God boldly. Share your faith boldly. Pray boldly. Serve others boldly in Jesus name.
I leave you with this verse to ponder today.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)
Notice that the passage doesn’t focus on some great spiritual event or worship service or missions trip. Paul challenges us in the everyday, normal, common, mundane things of life to GLORIFY God. So as you move through your week I want to challenge you to bring glory to God in everything you do.