“Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed.”
God doesn’t need our love, our help, our praise. This is not some new concept or even a new dispute. In fact, in Acts, when Paul was speaking to the Athenians, who felt that God needed the world, he said to them in chapter 17, verse 25: Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. In Jesus’ prayer before his death, as quoted above, He asks the Lord to glorify Him with the same glory He had before the world was created. He had perfect unity, perfect communion, perfect intimacy within the Godhead without us in the equation. It seems like such a relieving concept; God doesn’t need me, so He has no expectations of me. Then He doesn’t need my time, my talents, my money, my energy, my worship, my love, anything.
But then why do we, as a church, encourage giving time, to give energy, to give money, to fervently follow the Lord, to be His disciple, to join us in this cause? Well, first off, as believers, bought with a price paid on Calvary’s cross, we “belong to Christ,” as Paul says in Romans 1:6. That means that all my time, all my energy, and yes, as shocking as it sounds, even all my money, belongs to Him.
I love what Mark Driscoll says in regards to this concept: Rather than wonder how they [Christians] should spend their time, talent, and treasure, they ask how they should invest God’s time, talent, and treasure. He goes on to say, instead of wondering how much money or time we should GIVE to God, we ought to ask how much money or time of HIS He wants us to keep!
Seeing that everything belongs to Him, and as a believer in Christ, so do I, why should it be so hard to give anything? “Yeah, but He doesn’t NEED it, I mean, He’s God.” It’s not that He NEEDS it, but think of the privilege in giving Him praise, giving Him time, giving Him glory, giving Him my talents. It is an honor to serve Him week after week with time, energy, money, cause I’m undeserving of serving Him. Yet, by Christ, He accepts me, desires that He use me in any capacity. And it’s a joy to be His hands and feet in this world. It’s even more joyful knowing that He desires and chooses to use me, despite of myself, despite of my failings, despite my imperfections. A perfect God choosing to use imperfect me when He doesn’t need to.
When I was little, my uncle had a car with manual transmission. When I would drive with him, I would put my hand on the gearshift and he would put his hand on mine. Sure, he did the driving and maneuvering, told me which gear to go in, and had his hand on mine to make sure it went to the right gear, but imagine the joy I felt in that I was a part of the car driving to our destination. Could he have driven it without me? Of course. As in all physical examples of spiritual truths, this one doesn’t quite drive the point home, pun intended. But the point of the matter is God doesn’t need anything from us, but He desires to use us, and it’s a privilege that our Creator would so be gracious to use any part of us in His plan for the world. So my question for myself and us in this local body is, “What are we allowing God to do through us?”
The first verse I quoted, found in John 17:5, is from Jesus’ prayer right before His death. The verse right before it, Jesus says, “I have glorified You on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.” It’s my prayer that we can come to the end of our lives saying that same thing; we have glorified God by completing the work He has allowed us to do, by Him, for Him, and through Him.