Devotion: Monday, June 17, 2019

Welcome to “Word from the Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from John 8:54, where Jesus says,   

“If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.


Washington D.C. is a place where people are really concerned about who gets the credit for things, who gets the glory. If it is a good piece of legislation, or a moving message or speech captures the attention of the electorate, our leaders will jostle with each other for days or even weeks for the glory. To many of our leaders, the glory of the voter is king. But such fame—seeking—thinking is more prevalent than you might think. Many of our children today want to grow up to be, you guessed it, “famous.” Many think that merely being noticed means money, wealth, fame, and freedom. Gone are the days of striving for a good education, developing a craft or skill, or learning an instrument. No, just be famous and enjoy the ride. From reality TV, to internet clicks, to advice like “to be famous, all you need to do is follow the formula SHOCK = ATTENTION = FAME,”[1] people merely want to bask in the adulation of other people. The author of the article, “How to Become Famous in 3 Shockingly Easy Steps,” even soothes our fame-seeking spirits by seeking to remove any sense of doubt or guilt. He claims, “There is nothing wrong with being famous. Just as there is no inherent goodness from spending your life toiling in obscurity.” His point? Scream away, get the attention you desire, enjoy the fame. Isn’t it any wonder that so many are confused today?  

That kind of lust for fame misses the real question of the essence of one’s life, doesn’t it? The critical issue isn’t whether millions of people adore you or whether you can get the attention of the “players” of this world. The real question is, “What does God the Father think about you and me?” Jesus says that even His work is ultimately to be judged by the Father. Receiving the glory of God the Father…now that’s what life is about. People forget that Jesus’ saving work didn’t just entail facing the eternal punishment our sins deserved on the cross (i.e., His passive obedience). Jesus’ work also entailed being obedient (His active obedience) to the Father in all things in our place. He lived fully the life we should have lived. He freely died the death we all deserved to die. And He freely offers His eternal life to us as a gift of grace.

As people who trust in Christ alone, we now get to live lives that honor God and serve our neighbor in HIS name…not out of compulsion, but out of freedom, out of the place of honor that Christ has made possible for us all. We’ll still struggle with our brokenness, our ineptitude, and even our times of rebellion, but that battle is now fought in Christ’s grace and mercy alone.

When the Father glorifies someone’s work, then you have something of lasting significance! Incredibly, the work that Jesus accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection, work that was glorified by God the Father himself, was work done for you and me, and for all people.  God the Father glorified the work of God the Son and the results of that work are delivered to all who believe by the power of God the Holy Spirit. That’s good news FOR YOU, whether you are famous or not.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to strive for excellence in all we do, not for our fame, but to give You glory and to serve others in Your Name. That’s an attitude that is sure to bless not only us, but those You bring into our lives. AMEN.