Read: Matthew 5:16; Mark 10:46 -52
We used to sing a little chorus that was pretty much a prayer. It was one of those little songs that lent itself to making up specific choruses. The words were:
‘In My Life Lord, Be Glorified, Be Glorified
In My Life Lord, Be Glorified Today.’
Of course, the word life could be changed to home, work church.... You get the idea.
I have been thinking about that word "glorify" and what it means, as well as how we might glorify God in the myriads of places that could be elaborated in that little chorus.
To that end, I looked up the word glorify for some help. It means, laud, exalt reverence and praise. If I put those thoughts into the short chorus, glorifying God could be pictured in an endless number of ways, as long as what is done shows others what God is like and lets them know that it is the Lord we long to display, not ourselves.
Let's begin looking at this with a story from the book, WALKING IN THE STEPS OF RABBI JESUS. In the chapter, The Mystery of the Name, we read this short excerpt:
"Jonathan Miles is a Christian who founded the ministry of Shevet Achim in Jerusalem. His team brings Palestinian and Iraqi children to Israeli hospitals for heart surgery. Their work has a powerful impact on the Muslims and Jews who see them regularly risk their lives, in the name of Christ, to serve others. And Muslim families are stunned by the compassion Jewish doctors and nurses show toward their children.
Once, Jonathan was at a police station in Gaza when a fearsome-looking Palestinian glared at him from across the room. The hulking man approached him and verbally assaulted him for several minutes, demanding to know why he had come to Gaza. (Jonathan later learned that he was a member of a terrorist organization, and was even being recruited to be a suicide bomber.) Jonathan explained that he was expecting to meet the family of a child needing heart surgery. It was getting late though, and the people hadn't yet arrived. His questioner’s hostility deflated like a balloon pricked with a pin! Eager to help, the huge man led Jonathan from house to house through the village, knocking on each door to hunt for the family. The two have since become friends, and the man avidly seeks to know more about Jesus. That is the power of one obedient disciple—that by his example he could reach a would-be murderer, and cause him to consider following Christ."
Talk about letting his light shine before men! Jonathan Miles is doing just what Jesus tells us to do. His life is bearing fruit and honoring Jesus' Name. He is showing a watching world what Jesus is like. I love this story and others that I come across that so beautifully picture Matthew 5:16; however, sometimes when I read them, I think that I don't have the ability or wherewithal to do those kinds of acts. Perhaps others who read this might also have similar thoughts. Can we glorify God just as Jonathan Miles does? After all, our lives, for the most part, are quite different than his? The biblical truth is that our lives, even though they are often filled with rather ordinary events, can also shine for Jesus and show others what He is like. What seems ordinary to us can also show our watching world what the Savior is like.
Back to Mr. Miles' story. Why was the would-be terrorist surprised? The answer is easy. Jonathan Miles was doing a kindness that this man didn't expect. Mr. Miles was as it were holding out a signboard which beckoned him to see Jesus' love on display. Wow, that opens a large door for any of us. We read in the scriptures so many stories of how Jesus acted and reacted. Often His love displayed glimpses of traits that are dissimilar to the ones which come naturally to us; however, there is good news. By the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives can display Jesus' beauty and bring Him honor in the every-day flow of life. Let's look briefly at two things Jesus did that we also can do.
1. Jesus looked at people with compassion, Matthew 14:14, and He healed their sick. When the Savior saw the crowd, He displayed a tangible compassion that met needs. The people were not a nuisance to Him. The compassion He felt for them caused Him to demonstrate His care for them. No, we can't heal people as Jesus did, but our compassion can be followed with the actions that we are able to do. We can pray. Feeling compassion for people is a good reason for us to bring them to God's throne. When we pray, we honor God because interceding proves that we know the Lord is able to help them. In addition to prayer, there is frequently a tangible gift of service we can give to those who are hurting. Our compassion can be walked out through the use of the gifts God has given us. In Acts 9, we meet Tabitha. How was her compassion displayed? She made lovely garments for the widows who were in need. She used what she had to display God's loving care for those women. We can do the same thing. If appreciation is shown us, we then have a chance to praise the One Who has given us the gift we have shared, James 1:17. I remember a friend who came over right after we had moved into our home. I was standing among the boxes with no thought where to start unpacking them. My friend took hold of a box and started organizing. That was such a relief to me that I truly didn't care where she put anything. I'd find it later. She honored the Lord that day by using His gift of organization to help me.
2. Jesus stopped to listen, even before He acted, Mark 10:36-42. As we read Bartimaeus' story, it is easy and understandable that we think about the wondrous miracle Jesus did on his behalf, but wait, as is often said, there's more. Prior to the healing, Jesus stopped to listen. Could there be any sweeter thing Anyone could have done? Think of it. The Creator/Redeemer stopped to listen to the cry of a man that those around him were trying to silence? Jesus was displaying another amazing thing about God. Something any of us can do to show those around us what He is like. When we truly stop to listen in Jesus' Name, we honor God and show others His heart. We all know the loneliness and isolation that has been a part of these last long months. Perhaps even a small act of intentional listening will make a big difference in someone's life. How different real listening looks from the noisy shouting that often permeates the scenes that play out all around us. It was that kind of environment that the blind man experienced before Jesus called for him to come. All around him, he heard the people telling him to be quiet. Can you imagine the noise of all those people? Yet, Jesus took the time to stand still and listen to one man's cry for His help. Wouldn't it be preferable to stop and listen to a few people than race around and perhaps not truly hear very many of them?
I'm thankful that we have the opportunity to glorify God in simple yet powerful ways when we show compassion and stop to listen. How good it is to love a God Who perfectly displays these qualities and so very many more. May He help us glorify Him in our every-day lives whether they are more like Jonathan Miles' or Tabitha's.