What Does “Glorify” Even Mean?

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

1 Corinthians 15 is one of the longest expositions on heaven in Scripture. Given the topic, you might expect Paul to conclude this chapter by saying something like, “Now, wait around faithfully until the Lord’s return.” But that’s not what he says. Instead, Paul says, “Therefore…Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). 

In light of our eternal hope, we are to lean into our work today, knowing that it will somehow not be for naught. Somehow our work matters to God. How? We’re going to explore five answers to that question. 

Today, we start with the most fundamental: As Jesus’s words in today’s passage make clear, our work matters because it is a means of glorifying God.

John Piper says that to “glorify” God simply means to “reflect his greatness” or reveal his characteristics to others. Remember, the very first characteristic God reveals about himself is that he is a God who works. Then, when “the Word became flesh,” Jesus reflected the character of his Heavenly Father by working as a carpenter. And finally, on the eve of his arrest, Jesus prayed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, plumber, or mother, your work matters because it is a means of glorifying the character of God.


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