One of my favorite movies of all time is Chariots of Fire. It’s the wonderful story of a heroic, committed Christian from Scotland named Eric Liddell, who competed in the 1924 Olympics. Refusing to compromise his principles, Liddell would not run on Sunday, forfeiting his event of choice, the 100-meter race.
During one scene, Eric’s sister, a dedicated believer, was upset that her brother was running competitively. She thought he was wasting a lot of time and should get into the ministry immediately. She reminded Eric that God made him for Himself.
But Eric replied, “Aye, Jenny, I know. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
What a great statement. Just because he wasn’t in the ministry didn’t mean that he couldn’t glorify God.
As the story unfolds, he does glorify God at the Olympics because of the stand he made. He won a gold medal and a bronze medal in the 400- and 200-meter events, respectively. He then entered the ministry the following year, becoming a missionary to China.
Sometimes, we think the most dedicated Christians are pastors or missionaries. And they are dedicated. But like Eric Liddell, you can serve God and glorify Him wherever He has called you.
You can glorify Him as a construction worker. You can glorify Him working in the medical field. You can glorify Him as a professional athlete. You can glorify Him as a graphic designer.
Whatever field it may be, you can bring glory to Him.
Everyone has certain abilities that have been given to them by God. Let’s say that you were having some problems with your car. Who would you want to talk to — Greg, a pastor by the will of God? No, you really need George, an honest Christian mechanic by the will of God, because you have no idea what is going on underneath that hood.
George takes a look, shakes a couple of hoses, pulls out his tools, and starts working away. The next thing you know, your mechanical problem is solved. You find yourself thanking God for George, because he did what he could do.
But can George really glorify God as a mechanic? For starters, George can dedicate his ability to the Lord. He can help people, maybe even someone who is unable to repair his or her car. George can do his work as unto the Lord.
There are a lot of ways in which we can glorify God with the various abilities that He gives us. In fact, I think that if you are a hardworking, honest person who has integrity, then you are a rarity in today’s culture. People will stand up and take notice.
I believe that if you do work hard, and if you are diligent, then you will get promoted. You will receive greater opportunities. People will want to know what motivates you and where you find your joy, even on Monday mornings.
What a great thing to be able to say, “I do it for the glory of God,” or to say, “I repair this car like Jesus is going to drive it,” or “I make this meal like the Lord is going to eat it,” or “I framed this house as though Christ is going to live inside of it.”
You can take your work or vocation and do it for His glory. Whatever you do, you can do it for the glory of God. Your work can be an act of worship.
We are encouraged in 1 Corinthians, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31 nkjv), and “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (6:19 nkjv).
When we seek to fulfill the purpose for which God has created us — to glorify Him, to honor Him, and to bring Him pleasure — then we will find happiness. It doesn’t come from seeking it, but from seeking Him. Our life is found in proper balance.As the Scripture says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15 nkjv). We must never lose sight of the simple truth that we were not created to pursue our own aims, goals, and desires. Rather, we were created to glorify God.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!