I guess Selwyn was saving the best until last – his final life conviction is: ‘God’s glory must be the point of everything we do.’
In a sense it’s the compass bearing we must follow on our life’s journey. The central verse from 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, set for reading and meditation today, is verse 31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Perhaps it’s a good idea to constantly ask ourselves what it is that motivates us to do the various things we do, during each day – are we so busy working and paying the bills that we tend not to reflect on the answer to this question – except for a short time each Sunday?
Selwyn makes the comment that this truth is “greatly neglected in many of our Bible colleges, namely that God must be the point of all we say and do … few authors or preachers are focusing on this issue nowadays. The bestsellers in our Christian bookshops (in general) are those that tell us how to make our lives more satisfying, more enriching. Not that these matters are unimportant, but they are explored in a self-absorbed way that treats our enjoyment of life as more of a priority than anything else.” Do you agree with this view?
Maybe I’m a bit different but the last two books I’ve looked at don’t fall into the above category. One, was ‘The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence’, revised and rewritten by Harold J. Chadwick; it’s about the views of a 17th century brother who worked as a cook in a monastery kitchen then, due to severe sciatic gout, he spent the rest of his years as a sandel-maker for the barefooted Carmelites. In summary he sought the presence of God in all his simple, daily activities – which is a good example for us all. However, he sometimes aggravated his physical suffering with a view to increase hisÂ devotionÂ to the suffering of Jesus – I don’t think thatÂ such acts of extreme self-discipline are something God seeks from us – just my view.
The other book I’ve re-looked at, is: ‘Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes, A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke’, by Kenneth E. Bailey. Now this is a book I can recommend – if you you find any of the parables in Luke difficult to fully understand, this book may help. It attemps toÂ outline the sort of views that would have been expressed byÂ a person living in a Middle-Eastern village/community on hearing Jesus tell the parables. It examines the small village/ community response which most of us in the western world have little appreciation of – and hence provides a context for much ofÂ a parable’s impact which is often left out by today’s preachers.
Lastly, I like Selwyn summary: “If we do not know what it means to sacrifice self-interest in our lives day by day then in reality we are not living for God’s glory. We must ask ourselves: Whose concerns dictate what I am doing and the way I am living – mine or God’s?”
This question really separates those who follow Jesus to further their own agenda and those who follow Jesus to do the Father’s work and thereby give glory to God – it’s a good question – because it forces us to examine our motives.
Note, the discussion starter for 26-31 Oct: ” ‘God’s glory must be the bottom line.’ Is this one of your life’s convictions? If you were to adopt it, how would your life change?” Any views on this question?