Our eyes are wide open to the glory of an Olympic athlete getting a gold, the underdog winning the hard fought fight, an unknown poet taking the inauguration stage, or a former Colts quarterback making it to the Hall of Fame. We revel in such glory stories. Yet when it comes to the greatest glory story of all, we often treat it like another entre in the buffett line.
The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the church in Corinth addressed two things: a message to believers about how their lives are meant to be a lens through which others see the glory of God, AND a lesson to believers that there are people around them that cannot see such glory because they are looking elsewhere; distracted or focused on other things.
When was the last time your life - what you do, where you go, who you help, the way you treat people, where you spend your money, the words you speak, the projects you get involved in, the causes you support, and how you spend your time; was the lens through which someone saw the glory of God? The peace of Jesus? The presence of love? The attitude of humility? The grace of forgiveness?
When people look at you - your family, your lifestyle, your choices, your behavior, do they see glory? When people listen to you - your opinions, ideas, conversations, do they hear glory?
It is so easy to go about life and forget why we are here - forget that God created us for good. Easy to fall into habits, patterns, and ways of living that get us by and yet do not reflect glory. We become entrenched in the day in, day out, routine of it all; going to school, getting a job, earning a paycheck, paying the bills, raising the kids, running the kids, cleaning the house, attending meetings, changing the oil, getting a loan, working on a project, taking out the trash, feeding the pets, checking the mail, and on and on it goes until perhaps we lose sight of the glory we have been given and are to be shining and sharing with others.
Paul is telling the believers then and now, that yes it gets hard, yes it gets uncomfortable, yes it can be mundane, yes there are no guarantees you won’t get hurt or suffer, it’s risky, and yes it takes guts AND we don’t give up, we don’t get too comfortable, we don’t hide from the hard stuff, we don’t silence or cancel one another out, and we don’t go blind to the glory-filled things God is doing.
I believe he is telling the church and by that I mean those who follow Jesus, that their lives as a community - a body of believers (not just individuals) is meant to show the glory of God - our purpose is to live life together, in such a way that the glory of God shines through, even when its hard and even when people may not see what we are trying to do. We press on with guts and prayer, trusting that God’s glory, not ours, will prevail and that people will come to have eyes to see, including the eyes of some within the church.
The glory of God appears in a variety of ways - in expected and unexpected places. It takes guts to live a life that reveals such glory - it takes guts to see such glory. I pray dear church, we are up for both.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine