Does greater influence = greater Glory for God?
Recently I found myself struggling with a series of decisions about our church’s direction. While walking and praying I found myself saying something like, “God, if you expanded my sphere of influence then I could give you more glory.” As I continued to walk and wrestle with the Lord, the Spirit began to correct the erroneous equation I had written in my mind. As a citizen of the USA and a modern person living in a super-sized McDonald’s infused world, I had come to believe that greater influence equaled great glory for God. But this could not be farther from the truth. The Spirit began asking me a series of questions:
Does the woman who stays home to care for her child and raise this child in the Lord give me less glory than the one with a national platform?
Does a man serving in a small rural church in a dying town give me less glory than the one serving an up and coming mega ministry?
Questions like these flooded my mind for 5-10 minutes and I came to understand that God didn’t want me to equate the size of one’s influence in numeric numbers with glorifying him more or less based on those numbers. The proper equation would be God gets more glory when His people do what He has asked them to do. In short, if God desires a person to do a specific task, and that person does it, then God is glorified to the maximum amount. Anything more or less would not multiply God’s glory but diminish it since it would be something outside of God’s intent.
Obedience glorifies God
Stated more specifically, if God’s desire is for me to serve as a missionary in China where only one person comes to faith, and I do it, then God is glorified the most in my life lived in obedience to his loving will. If God’s desire is for me to serve as a pastor in a church of 50,000 people and I do it, then God is glorified the exact same amount as the person serving in China and seeing one convert. If God’s desire is for me to stay home and raise a differently abled child, or care for an aging parent, or work in the family business making compost and I do it, God gets the most of amount of Glory from my life.
Influence is not the same as obedience
Influence and obedience are not the same. Obedience always glorifies God. Influence may not. Influence is the measure of the number of lives a person can affect, but the ability to affect lives isn’t the same as glorifying God. Obedience glorifies God, if it didn’t then the vast majority of us would never have a chance of making much of the Lord. It is in simple obedience to the Lord that our lives put on display that God is worthy and worth living for. So instead of seeing to have greater influence, see instead to follow God’s lead in your life. This will bring great renown to the name of the Lord, to whom belongs all glory.