March 7, 2016
Over the course of my life, my understanding and definition of the word “glory” has been shaped and molded into that of which Gary Barkalow speaks in his lecture Unveiling Your Purpose: An Invitation into the Journey. I say that it has been shaped and molded over years, because my knowledge on what exactly glory is has grown and blossomed. My definition for glory that I operate under is thus: “My glory is Christ revealed to the world through me.” I have arrived at this definition through the wisdom of many pastors I have listened to, and through my own study of scripture. Through these various avenues, I have come to understand that God is telling a story that stretches across the universe and from one end of history to the other. I have a specific and unique part to play in that story. My story is written into the story of God. As Barkalow (2008) says, the question we must each ask is “Will you become the person you were created to be?” In Luke 12:54-56, Jesus speaks to the crowd of the importance of being able to look beneath the surface of things and seeing how the present fits into the bigger picture. We were all created with a specific purpose, and God designed us with that purpose to fit into His Kingdom. If we are to “become who we are created to be”, then we must come to know how our present story fits into God’s big story.
The idea that we each have a “personal glory” is not a new concept to me, as I alluded to in the above paragraph. I did not always have this realization and appreciation, however. The word glory, for much of my young Christian life, was a word that I only saw as referring to the Lord. Only within the past six years have I come to know that glory can refer to the splendor or weightiness of an individual (Barkalow, 2008), and is a word not specifically reserved for God. In 2010, at the Passion conference in Atlanta, John Piper delivered this quote: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This quote speaks of God’s glory, yes, but it also encompasses the idea that we need to look no further than Christ to find our utmost satisfaction. Coupled with verses such as Philippians 1:20-21 and 2 Corinthians 1:24, I learned that my glory is the world seeing the majesty of God reflected in my life. As Barkalow (2008) put it, the splendor of our lives should be Jesus. When I am doing what I was created to do, my splendor, God is the receiver of glory.
Barkalow’s argument that our glory, our calling is something we are created with that extends to the deepest parts of our being is one which I completely agree with, but had never heard it presented quite like this before. I did not know I agreed with it until I heard Barkalow present it this way. Up until hearing this lecture, I had never found a way to separate my calling from my role or assignment. To hear that the weight of my life is rooted in my desires and passions awakened a sense of euphoria within me (Barkalow, 2008). I had always known that I didn’t need to hold the title or position of someone working in ministry to actually do Kingdom work, but how to justify my passion in this context was unclear. True to his calling, Barkalow (2008) brought clarity to my eyes and my heart.
After listening to the lecture and meditating on the words I had taken in, I emerged feeling inspired and enabled. Although I know that my glory is the weight of what I bring to the world and to the Kingdom of God, I had always felt this pressure to suppress my passions if I didn’t feel they fit into my “calling”. With the knowledge that my calling and my passions are one and the same, I feel that I have been freed to pursue my true desires. If I were to speak of everything I learned from this lecture, I would need many more pages. I still know that the Lord has set me apart to enter into full-time ministry complete with the title and position that accompanies this responsibility. What has changed for me is that I now know that it is acceptable to allow myself to be consumed by my passions and to allow the Lord to reveal my calling to me in terms of what resonates within me (Barkalow, 2008). I know that I have a passion for worship. I love to see God’s people surrendering and offering themselves as a living sacrifice at the foot of the Cross. In speaking to a pastor and friend of mine, he told me that even though I was studying history in school and enjoyed that field of study, he never saw me light up about anything as much as I did when we talked about worship. True to Barkalow’s points on the discovery of the calling (2008), God sent my friend into my life at that specific time to say those words to me and to reveal a small part of my passion. As I have developed this particular passion, there have been others that have sprung from it along my journey. Leading worship teams not only musically on the platform, but also spiritually and helping them mature in their faith is one passion I did not always have, but has now become just as joyfully exciting to me as singing and leading praises to God. Another desire I have always had is to teach others from the Word of God. My enrollment at Grace Bible College is my first big step in pursuing and developing this passion of mine. With the knowledge that developing my calling is a life-long journey and will take much time and effort (Barkalow, 2008), I can rest in the fact that by humbly owning my true life, I can be comfortable in the mystery of life as God reveals my calling to me with each step I take in faith (Barkalow, 2008). References
Barkalow, G. (2008). Unveiling your purpose: An invitation into the journey [CD]. Colorado Springs, Colorado: The Noble Heart.
Piper, J. (2012). God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Desiring God. Retrieved from http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/god-is-most-glorified-in-us-when-we-are-most-satisfied-in-him