Though it won’t earn many Words with Friends points, “glory” is a big word.
Glory to the newborn king!
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria in excelsis Deo!
Christians consider it a buzz-word. Non-Christians liberally biff it around. No less than two musical artists, three albums, and nine pop songs are named “Glory” (including the likes of Kanye West and Jay-Z).
We’ve got battlefield glory, the road to glory, the glory of love, glory days, blazes of glory, and morning glory. Through history, the British Royal Navy has commissioned or captured ten different ships named HMS Glory.
Glory is not an obscure word, but do you know what it means? Could you explain it to a child?
More Than Praise
We commonly treat “glory” as though it’s interchangeable with “praise.” So we give God “all the praise and glory” for good things. Whether we “praise” him or “glorify” him, we do the same thing: We speak well of him.
But there’s a slight difference between “praise” and “glory” that can be helpful to recognize. Glorifying something means more than speaking well of it; glorifying something means acting in every way as though this thing is the best thing.
For example, in my house, we praise dinner but we glorify dessert.
I married a terrific cook. Countless culinary aspirants stew in jealous longing for a fraction of her talent. Because her secret arts have been known to bewitch hungry souls to the verge of insanity, an invitation to dinner at our house could make a killing on ebay. We used to have an after-dinner family chant that went, “Good cooker, good looker, good mama,” and we could have drowned out the mobs of Ephesus with it (Acts 19:34). Perhaps I exaggerate just a hair, but the point is this: We eat well here, and we’re not afraid to say so. We praise dinner.
However, dessert is what truly rocks this house. There is always, always, always room for dessert. A child could ask for seconds and thirds on homemade potato rolls and leave the table stuffed to the eyebrows, but he’ll never resist an offer of dessert. We Krols claim to have two stomachs; we reserve the second one for dessert.
Dessert always gets pre-eminence. It’s more important than toys. It’s more important than dolls. It’s more important than television. It’s more important (regretfully) than visitors. The children—who can’t hear me when I say, “Clean your room,” from two feet away—come running if I whisper, “Time for dessert,” from across the building. We glorify dessert.
God is like dessert. He’s the most important thing (the weightiest being) in the universe, and we glorify him when we treat him as such. Giving glory includes offering him praise, but it also means so much more. We arrange our lives around that which we glorify. Whatever is most important to us will capture our attention and receive our time and resources.
Glory is not a difficult concept. Everyone glorifies something, which is why we talk about glory so much. We can discuss the idea simply with our children, our friends, and our unbelieving neighbors. We don’t need to toss the word around as another piece of Christian Klingon.
And, as the people of God, every little choice we make ought to show the incomparable importance and value of the Lord our God (1 Cor 10:31).