15 May Glory and Gratitude
As a brand-new pastor, two decades ago, I will never forget one odd conversation I had with a married couple. They were Christians, but rather religious folks. They used a lot of spiritual jargon, seemed to think that being judgmental was a ministry, and were very good at annoying one another.
We sat down and before I could even pray for our meeting, the wife launched into her list of complaints against her husband. Like a prosecuting attorney on Red Bull, she did not take a breath and before long had hung up enough dirty laundry to fill a laundromat. Not to be outdone, he eventually interrupted her and returned fire listing his complaints in what could only be described as an avalanche of awful.
It was obvious that they were both hurt. As we dug deeper into why, at the bedrock the issue was that they each felt unappreciated by the other. When I asked them why they did not encourage, thank, or appreciate one another verbally, we found their problem.
The wife said it first, “We are to give glory only to God!”. The husband shook his head in agreement. I shook my head in disagreement.
Indeed, glory is a mega-theme of Scripture and as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” But, while giving glory to God, the Bible also gives gratitude to people whom God uses to accomplish His will. Such people are humble servants, generous givers, and devoted disciples. This explains why the Bible often names people–to give gratitude for their service as the means by which God worked.
In Jesus’ day, they were apparently confused in another way. Rather than giving glory to God and forgetting to be grateful for people, they were giving glory to Moses for the work that God did feeding them each day in the wilderness. Jesus says in John 6:32, “it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father…”
People often don’t understand the difference glory and gratitude. Glory goes to God. Gratitude goes to people who were the means of God’s grace to us. Both are necessary in order to see how God works, since he often does so through people.
How about you? Are you good at giving God glory for all the good things in your life? Are you good at expressing your gratitude to the people whom God has used in your life?