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Do all to the Glory of God
The passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “It’s not about me,” published in 2004 by Integrity Publishers.
G. R. Tweed looked across the Pacific waters at the American ship on the horizon. Brushing the jungle sweat from his eyes, the young naval officer swallowed deeply and made his decision. This could be his only chance for escape.
Tweed had been hiding on Guam for nearly three years. When the Japanese occupied the island in 1941, he ducked into the thick tropical brush. Survival hadn’t been easy, but he preferred the swamp to a POW camp.
Late in the day July 10, 1944, he spotted the friendly vessel. He scurried up a hill and positioned himself on a cliff. Reaching into his pack, he pulled out a small mirror. At 6:20 PM., he began sending signals. Holding the edge of the mirror in his fingers, he tilted it back and forth, bouncing the sunrays in the direction of the boat. Three short flashes. Three long. Three short again. Dot-dot-dot. Dash-dash-dash. Dot-dot-dot. SOS.
The signal caught the eye of a sailor on board the USS McCall. A rescue party boarded a motorized dinghy and slipped into the cove past the coastal guns. Tweed was rescued.1
He was glad to have that mirror, glad he knew how to use it, and glad that the mirror cooperated. Suppose it hadn’t. (Prepare yourself for a crazy thought.) Suppose the mirror had resisted, pushed its own agenda. Rather than reflect a message from the sun, suppose it had opted to send its own. After all, three years of isolation would leave one starved for attention. Rather than sending an SOS, the mirror could have sent an LAM. “Look at me.”
An egotistical mirror?
The only crazier thought would be an insecure mirror. What if I blow it? What if I send a dash when I’m supposed to send a dot? Besides, have you seen the blemishes on my surface? Self-doubt could paralyze a mirror.
So could self-pity. Been crammed down in that pack, lugged through jungles, and now, all of a sudden expected to face the bright sun and perform a crucial service. No way. Staying in the pack. Not getting any reflection out of me.
Good thing Tweed’s mirror didn’t have a mind of its own.
But God’s mirrors? Unfortunately we do.
We are his mirrors, you know. Tools of heaven’s heliography. Reduce the human job description down to one phrase, and this is it: Reflect God’s glory. As Paul wrote: “And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB).
Some reader just arched an eyebrow. Wait a second, you are thinking. I’ve read that passage before, more than once. And it sounded different. Indeed it may have. Perhaps it’s because you are used to reading it in a different translation. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (emphasis mine).
One translation says, “beholding as in a minor;” another says, “reflecting like mirrors.” One implies contemplation; the other implies refraction. Which is accurate?
Actually both. The verb katoptrizo can be translated either way. Translators are in both camps:
“with unveiled face, beholding” (RSV)
“beholding as in a glass” (KJV)
“reflecting like mirrors” (JB)
“be mirrors that brightly reflect” (TLB)
“we . . all reflect the Lord’s glory” (NIV)
But which meaning did Paul intend? In the context of the passage, Paul paralleled the Christian experience to the Mount Sinai experience of Moses. After the patriarch beheld the glory of God, his face reflected the glory of God. ”The people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 3:7 NLT).
The face of Moses was so dazzling white that the “people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun” (2 Corinthians 3:7 MSG).
Upon beholding God, Moses could not help but reflect God. The brightness he saw was the brightness he became. Beholding led to becoming. Becoming led to reflecting. Perhaps the answer to the translation question, then, is “yes:’
Did Paul mean “beholding as in a mirror”? Yes.
Did Paul mean “reflecting like a mirror”? Yes.
Could it be that the Holy Spirit intentionally selected a verb that would remind us to do both? To behold God so intently that we can’t help but reflect him?
What does it mean to behold your face in a mirror? A quick glance? A casual look? No. To behold is to study, to stare, to contemplate. Beholding God’s glory then, is no side look or occasional glance; this beholding is a serious pondering.
Isn’t that what we have done? We have camped at the foot of Mount Sinai and beheld the glory of God. Wisdom unsearchable. Purity unspotted. Years unending. Strength undaunted. Love immeasurable. Glimpses of the glory of God.
As we behold his glory dare we pray that we, like Moses, will reflect it? Dare we hope to be mirrors in the hands of God, the reflection of the light of God?
This is the call.
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV).
Let your message reflect his glory. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
Let your salvation reflect God’s glory. “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession---to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13—14 NIV).
Let your body reflect God’s glory “You are not your own. . . G1orify God in your body” (l Corinthians 6:19—20 NASB).
Your struggles. “These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified” (2 Corinthians 4:15 TLB; see also John 11:4).
Your success honors God. “Honor the Lord with your wealth” (Proverbs 3:9 NIV). “Riches and honor come from you” (l Chronicles 29:12 NCV). “God... is giving you power to make wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18 NASB).
Your message, your salvation, your body, your struggles, your success---all proclaim God’s glory.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17 NASB).
He’s the source; we are the glass. He’s the light; we are the mirrors. He sends the message; we mirror it. We rest in his pack awaiting his call. And when placed in his hands, we do his work. It’s not about us; it’s all about him.
Mr. Tweed’s use of a mirror led to a rescue.
May God’s use of us lead to millions more. (81-86)
1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Washington, http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/dafs/DD/dd400.html.
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