I will be sitting close to the stage while I watch my friend’s daughter sing about this hard knock life and leaving us with a promise that the will sun come out tomorrow. This young girl is very talented and was cast as Annie in our 5th Ave Theatre production.
Those of us who have watched what it took for her to get there could not be more proud. We will eagerly await for the curtain to open as she comes out to take her bow. I know I will stand to applaud her hard work and heart given performance.
From a majority of the audience’s viewpoint, she will be given most of the glory and they will go home singing the melodies she has put in their hearts and minds.
I know that her parents will be fully content to let her shine and will not jump up on the stage and bow for all that it cost them to get her there. The costume, makeup, lights, ticket workers, theatre attendants, and many others employed will also go home with no applause.
There are many people who prefer to be behind the scenes and do so with humble hearts. Everyone who participated in this production is worthy of the glory. Having been a part of the big picture is just as fulfilling for them as the crowd cheers.
Why is it hard to give glory to God?
Giving glory takes daily surrender to self. What about when we do something very well and someone else gets the recognition for their part in it? It can be frustrating, hurtful and disappointing. [click_to_tweet tweet=”When we are asked to do all things for His glory I believe we often see it as being asked to be the backstage helper.” quote=”When we are asked to do all things for His glory I believe we often see it as being asked to be the backstage helper.”] There will not be an earthly applause or instant gratification for our participation.
In Jeremiah, chapter 4, he warns the Israelites to look at what they are doing. He is pleading with them to return to giving God glory, to be a part of the behind the scenes.
Has glory become our idol?
I believe that are three things that keep us from letting go of glory.
Our sense of Identity, our inability to surrender and being held accountable.
- Idols give us identity
God through Jeremiah tells them to put away their detested things and find glory in Him. As humans, we can fall into the trap of having our identity wrapped up in what we have. Commerce relies on people seeing what others have and believing that they need that too. If other nations had idols then Isreal, who were the chosen people, was not going to let others have something they did not. They thought they could appear to serve both, just like Judah. (Jeremiah 2:23-37)
- Idols do not ask for full surrender
In order to repent, Isreal would need to swear or proclaim, that the Lord alone was worthy of glory. We think of glory from a human viewpoint, an honor won by notable achievements. We struggle, even fight to keep it. When asked to give God glory we see it as being nothing more than a behind the scenes contributor and we want to be the one recognized for our part.
God asks them to break up their fallow ground, the plowed yet left unsown earth and to stop planting their seeds among the thorns. They need to circumcise their hearts. He is asking them to surrender.
- Idols don’t ask for accountability
When people are in the limelight they have a responsibility. They need to meet the expectation that is put on them and be who they say they are. A human trying to meet human demands is very hard and can often become a person’s demise. If human glory is what drives you as soon as you are no longer receiving it the results can be harmful. With no moral compass, there was no pressure to stand up to a higher call. (4:16)
Jeremiah warns Isreal that there will come a day that they will be held accountable for having lead people astray.
We were created in the image of God, to share in divine glory as image bearers. We were made for others to see our talents and good works in order to reflect His glory, to work hard behind the scenes of a much bigger picture.
There is a great line in the play. The character Grace says, “ You love money and power and capitalism? You know they’re never going to love you back…”
Our idol of glory seeking will never fulfill us because it will never love us back. It leaves us empty and searching for more. Jeremiah 4:30 reminds us that in vain we make our selves beautiful, yet our lovers despise us.
We are instructed to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
When we as His people do our part in declaring the glory of God there will come a time when all of the heavens rejoice. The standing ovation for a storyline well plotted and cast. I want to be a part of that bigger picture.