I used to think the God was stingy with His glory. I thought that He only showed it to the most holy people or to His favorites. That was clearly before I knew Him at all. I now see that God is far from stingy. In fact, He is the most generous giver of extravagant grace and when He sent Jesus, He showered us with abundant life, Life with skin on, the visible expression of the invisible God.
God does not hoard His glory for only the most holy. He showers His glory on the humble. Moses was a murderer, yet after spending 40 years as a shepherd of sheep, God made Moses glow with His glory for the next 40 years, shepherding the Israelites.
And in Romans, God puts the whole “playing favorites” issue to rest:
But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:10-11 NLT)
As I camped out in Ezekiel this morning, I was awestruck once again by God’s glory and the countless, creative expressions He chooses to reveal it.
In Ezekiel 1 we are told,
Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)
When I read the sentence,
“This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me.”
I immediately remembered an encounter when God specifically showed me His Glory . If He showed Moses, Ezekiel and me His glory (just to name a few), then you can bet your life that HE WILL SHOW YOU TOO!
“This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me…”
I am a Memphis girl, born and bred, but "Sweet Home Alabama" has been my home for the last 24 years. My mother was the last thread holding me to Memphis and she went home to Jesus in the spring of 2013. During her final days this side of Heaven, I packed up and headed to "The River City, the home of Graceland, for a bedside season. My journal and Bible were constant companions. Having lost my dad unexpectedly in 1991, I knew I would see the "God Moments" in hindsight, but my continuous prayer was to recognize HIS PRESENCE, while still IN the valley.
One morning during the "Valley-Vigil", I specifically wrote in my journal:
"Lord, show me YOUR GLORY today, please."
Later that afternoon, I was running and listening to a podcast about having a servant's heart and how it is never to late to become who you were meant to be. I was inspired and encouraged and excited to return from this "Jesus Jog" with a renewed spirit to serve,
when I ALMOST missed a divine appointment!
Dressed in a starched white uniform with matching white shoes, she was bent over with a cane and attempting to put the recycle bin inside a big green trashcan. The long journey back up the driveway called for some trashcan consolidation. She showed no frustration and a toothy, white smile beamed from her beautiful, brown face. I am convinced it was her "glow" that caught my attention, not the wrestling match with the trashcans. I smiled back, said "hello"and ALMOST kept going.
Remember, I had been praying to notice the "God Moments" while still IN the valley, noticing from Christ's perspective. God is faithful and I DID NOT miss it! What good is an inspiring sermon if we don't live it out! I wanted a servant's heart and here was my opportunity to serve.
"May I please take those trashcans up for you?" I asked. She smiled and tried to say NO but I was a servant on a mission and I wasn't taking NO for an answer. I took both cans by the handle with the recycle bin strategically placed inside one of them and we began our trek up the long driveway.
(Here it comes. Are you ready?)
I asked her name and guess what she said?
I got to take up the trash for Glory!
I started crying at the mention of her name.
It took us a good 10 minutes to get the cans back up the driveway, just long enough for me to tell her I was from Memphis but now lived in Alabama, just long enough for her to tell me she was from Alabama but now lived in Memphis. Although decades apart in age, our hearts were connected immediately as we shared snippets of our stories.
Glory reminded me so much of my Aunt Leta, my "other mother." Aunt Leta worked for my dad before my parents were married; she helped raise me and all 3 of my older brothers and was still working for my mom. Although my mom was technically Aunt Leta's employer, "best friend" and "confidant" were more appropriate titles.
But now back to Glory!
She asked me if I knew her boss. You could tell by the admiration in her voice that she had the utmost respect for her employer and that getting those trashcans was a labor of love, not just a part of her job. You could tell that, although the owner of the big house with the long driveway was technically Glory's employer, "best friend" and "confidant" may have been more appropriate titles.
You could tell Glory was one of those souls who truly lived out:
Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for man.(Col 3:23)
She thanked me repeatedly for helping her take up the trash but I am the one who was overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn't tell her enough:
"Thank you for letting me help you!"
We were doing our own little "grateful dance"- round and round we went. What a sweet world this would be if we all tried to one-up one another in gratitude!
In that moment, I truly understood that all things are "trash" compared to knowing Christ. In knowing Christ, we NOTICE HIS GLORY, because we see through HIS PERSPECTIVE, not ours. When we NOTICE HIS GLORY, we won't take NO for an answer, going ALL OUT because we are ALL IN!
I asked to see GOD'S GLORY and HE delivered in the most creative, clever and kind way!
To God be all the Glory!
This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me.
What does it look like to you?
I bet He will surprise you beyond anything you could ever dream or imagine!
-I want to thank Katie for filling in for me this week. I highly recommend checking out her blog, "When Ruins Sing," at https://psalm8110.com/