Growing up in a religious culture can cause us to become inoculated to the meaning of certain religious words, especially if the words are used more in a religious context than in non-religious ones. “Glorify” is one of those words. It’s easy to gloss over the word and miss the full significance of the word.
Dictionary.com defines “glorify” as:
- to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered.
- to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol.
- to make glorious; invest with glory.
- to praise the glory of (God), especially as an act of worship.
To glorify God then means to honor, praise, and worship Him and to cause others to regard God as more splendid and excellent than they otherwise might on their own. I’ve heard some say it means to make God famous, but one can be famous for the wrong reasons. Hitler was famous. We are supposed to make God famous in a good way by causing people to give Him praise and extol Him.
So, the question is, “How do we do that?” Jesus gave an example of one way we can do so, and that is by successfully performing the job He has given us to do on the earth. See John 17:4 (“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”). We make the mistake, however, of spiritualizing “work” to mean ministry work, even though most of us are not even in the full-time ministry. Why would we assume what God really sent us to accomplish is the thing we do in our spare time rather than what we must do full time?
Jesus brought glory to God through the work He did, and we are called to do the same. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews 12:2. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Matt. 28:18; John 17:2. He manages the planet and changes the world by delegating that authority to those who voluntarily submit to his authority on earth and carry out His will in their work. When we perform our jobs ethically, excellently, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we bring King Jesus’ reign to the earth and in turn bring glory to God.
I’m an employment lawyer. Right now I am helping employers return their employees to work safely in the midst of a pandemic. King Jesus wants to see employees return safely to work. I have the opportunity to cause people to give praise to God by accomplishing the work He has given me to do.
You too have been given work to do by God. Do it in such a way that people will give praise to God. Glorify God in your work. GS