So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
In the mid 1950s through the early 1960s, my mother’s dad, my grandfather, or Papa worked on a barge dredging various rock and gravel out of the Chattahoochee River. Because of this type of work several unique items came into his possession. Many of these items, as best as I can remember were in an old blue, faded, and severely cracked mop bucket in Papa’s shed. But one of these items, in particular has become very sentimental to me. It’s the bowl of an Indian pipe that was found among the gravel and sand as my grandfather worked. It’s one of a kind and I know no one else in the world has one like this. It’s in my mother’s possession now, but one day it will become mine. Why am I receiving it as an heirloom and not my sister? Because, when my mother asked, “If you got this when I died, would you sell it?” (It has a value of around $8,000.) I replied, “NO WAY!” – I recognized the value of the artifact that was in the box I held. And…if I’m honest, it makes me feel a little bit like I’m some sort of Indiana Jones.
- It is irreplaceable
- It is valuable
- It is valuable to me personally
- It is unique (one of a kind)
How about you? What’s your most valuable possession? What do you have that is valuable, irreplaceable, unique? Everyone in their teens may clinch their phones tightly softly whispering, “My precious.” Men, if your wife is beside you, perhaps now would be a good time to wrap that arm around your spouse and whisper, “That’d be you, baby.”
But I have another possession. One that is much more valuable than this artifact. A possession that Trumps this small trinket in every way. As a matter of fact, you may very well have this possession too.
Now, can you think of anything that is more irreplaceable, unique, or personally valuable the God himself?
For several years (since 2015), Mount Gilead has kept 3 words or phrases before you. You can look at these as 3 discipleship pillars, or 3 discipleship goals for our church, and I hope for your life life. These words are on our signage, they’re printed on the bulletin, etc. We try to keep them everywhere to continually reminded us to chase after these three things.
Captivated. Connected. Committed.
Captivated – by God’s glory
Connected – to God’s family
Committed – to God’s mision
I believe these key areas are fundamental and foundational for what it means for us to be a growing disciple and have meaningful membership. Right now, let’s focus on the first of these 3. Captivated by God’s glory. I think it’s important for us to revisit, remember, and remind ourselves about the importance of this discipleship focus and goal for our lives. Because often times it’s the most valuable possessions we have that we often take for granted.
I truly hope that this discussion will bring you to a better understanding of what it means to be captivated by God’s glory and how we should treasure God.
(1) because of who He is and
(2) what He has done for us.
We’ll do this by examining a couple of stories and references in scripture that can help us understand.
CAPTIVATED BY GOD’S GLORY – BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS
It’s important to begin by acknowledging this thought to completely counter cultural in the time in which we live. We are taught and often think that WE are valuable apart from anything else. And we are. But our value comes from the fact that we are created by God, redeemed by God, and adopted into God’s family. We have made human value psychologically and trade based and have ignored that our value stems from divine, spiritual roots. These thoughts of self-value become polluted and manifest themselves out in our lives by us having an attitude that says, “I’m the most important thing in my life.”
Let’s go back and examine the verse mentioned earlier. 1 Cor. 10.31.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Let’s break this simple verse down into two principles:
- Life is full of decisions – “whether…whatever you do.” Some are habitual and/or mundane. Like, where do I want to grab lunch at today? Other’s are extremely important, complex, and may often be life altering. Like, Do I take this job? Should I commit my life to this thing, or maybe this person?
- All of life’s decisions should be run through one-single filter – “do all to the glory of God.” The two-lettered word in this verse brings us to perhaps the most important lens in which we as believers should view the world and the direction of our lives as we live in it. The word “to.” It carries with it the idea of intent, aim, purpose, objective, goal, end, etc. In other words, every decision I make should be made for the sole purpose of, with the aim of bringing glory to God.
“This is the ruling motive in the Christian’s life, not just having his own way about whims and preferences.”*
Many catechisms begin their series of questions with this understanding. The Westminster Catechism of 1648 reads:
QUESTION 1: What is the chief end of man?
ANSWER: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
God is the most important thing. Period. Consider these quotes from Jonathan Edwards from His work entitled The End for Which God Created the World:
God’s moral rectitude consists in his valuing the most valuable, namely, himself
 That if God himself be, in any respect, properly capable of being his own end in the creation of the world, then it is reasonable to suppose that he had respect to himself, as his last and highest end, in this work; because he is worthy in himself to be so, being infinitely the greatest and best of beings. All things else, with regard to worthiness, importance, and excellence, are perfectly as nothing in comparison of him. And therefore, if God has respect to things according to their nature and proportions, he must necessarily have the greatest respect to himself. It would be against the perfection of his nature, his wisdom, holiness, and perfect rectitude, whereby he is disposed to do everything that is fit to be done, to suppose otherwise.
 When I speak of regard to be thus adjusted in the universal system, I mean the regard of the sum total; all intelligent existence, created and uncreated. For it is fit, that the regard of the Creator should be proportioned to the worthiness of objects, as well as the regard of creatures. Thus, we must conclude that such an arbiter as I have supposed would determine that the whole universe, in all its actings, proceedings, revolutions, and entire series of events, should proceed with a view to God as the supreme and last end; that every wheel, in all its rotations, should move with a constant invariable regard to him as the ultimate end of all
What does all this mean? What is Edwards getting at? God is the only being worthy of supreme value. When compared to God, everything in existence is of far less value than He. It wouldn’t be fit for God to direct attention to an object lesser than Himself to be worshipped. The sheer beauty of the whole universe points to this conclusion.
We also see God pointing to the value of Himself throughout the whole of scripture. It is a continual thread from Genesis to Revelation.
CAPTIVATED BY GOD’S GLORY – BECAUSE OF CREATION
Paul said that, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made… (Rom. 1:20).
David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19:1-4).
God’s creation constantly points to His value.
CAPTIVATED BY GOD’S GLORY – BECAUSE OF WHAT HE DOES
It would take pages to take even a brief walk though scripture demonstrating this principle. I’ve tried to pick a few that would help us see clearly that God’s actions point to His value.
Think of the story in Exodus (beginning in Chapter 6) where God brings about the freedom of His people from Egyptian slavery. Notice this reoccurring theme.
Exodus 6:6-8: Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’”
And again in 7:5: “Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
7:16,17: And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed. Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.
This thought continues through the story of the Exodus.
Also consider these verses in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 1:6-14. (Selected verses below)
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you…For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts… For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
In the New Testament, God communicating His value through what he does it seen most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. At no place in history has God’s value been more clearly seen, than through the incarnate Son of God. Jesus was here to reveal the character and salvation of God.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace…For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ…No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. – John 1:14, 16-18.
Paul argued that salvation should always result in God receiving praise for His glory. “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
In other words, why does God initiate and complete our salvation (predestined and sealed)? So that we might praise his glory.
- OUR RECOGNITION OF THE VALUE OF GOD DEMANDS A RESPONSE OF UNSURPASSED AWE AND GRATITUDE, WHEREBY GOD BECOMES OUR TREASURE.
Many fast food restaurants offer what we call a value meal. Where, we can calm our intense cravings for MSG. In a value meal, we often feel like we are getting more for our dollar than we would normally get if we ordered the items separately. We get more but pay less. We attempt this with our relationship with God, but the Bible paints a different picture.
Consider the following verses:
Matthew 13:44-46 – “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Earlier this year in Kentucky, a farmer was plowing his field and unearthed a huge treasure in his field…
A Kentucky man got the surprise of his life while digging in his field earlier this year: a cache of over 700 coins from the American Civil War era.
The “Great Kentucky Hoard” includes hundreds of U.S. gold pieces dating to between 1840 and 1863, in addition to a handful of silver coins. In a short video, the man who discovered the hoard — whose identity and specific location have not been revealed to the public — says, “This is the most insane thing ever: Those are all $1 gold coins, $20 gold coins, $10 gold coins,” as he aims his camera at the artifacts tumbling out of the dirt. According to the Numismatic Guaranty Co. (NGC), which certified the coins’ authenticity, and GovMint, where the coins were sold, 95% of the hoard is composed of gold dollars, along with 20 $10 Liberty coins and eight $20 Liberty coins. The rarest is the 1863-P $20 1-ounce gold Liberty coin. Just one of these coins can go for six figures at auction, and the Great Kentucky Hoard boasts 18 of them.
In these verses, Jesus is plainly stating that when a person understands the value of God’s Kingdom (His rule and reign over all of creation) they sacrificially respond with joy to make it their sole possession. They understand the value of God and what he is doing.
As we said earlier, scripture points to this continually.
The most beautiful picture of this fact scripture is found in Revelation 5:9-14 (Selected verses below).
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth… Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
WHAT A PICTURE!
So the question becomes, “Why wait?” And the answer is, “You don’t!” That’s why Paul gives us our key verse.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
If I had to point someone to the reason for our existence, I would point them to this verse. It’s that fundamental and important!
All of our life, even the smallest parts, even the smallest decisions should be lived to give God glory.
*A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), 1 Co 10:31.