I shared this as 17th chapter of my essay on Learning Leadership Lessons from 2 Corinthians.
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15
My main goal is to have the same goals as God. I want what matters to God to matter to me. From what I can see from the most zoomed out vantage point of the Bible, His chief goal can be summed up as, “The glory of God and the good of people.” I think that is what this human experiment is all about. That’s what He’s after – and is after us to be after. He wants everything that we do to somehow be connected to glory for God and good for people.
The first part – “the glory of God” – is what I call, “The Goal of Goals.” It’s the mother of all goals. There are good goals and bad goals, and then there is the “Goal of Goals.” All other goals are subsidiary to this Goal of Goals. It is the goal from which all other good goals are derived. If God is glorified, then you can rest assured that other good things are going to happen.
Of all the other goals, the chief one is “the good of people.” The good of people encompasses all that is eternally good for human beings. We’re not talking about what makes people feel good necessarily, but He wants us to experience good, to be good, and to do good.
When this goal (the good of people) is achieved, then the first goal (the glory of God) is also accomplished. That is, when something is good for people, it brings glory to God. When man is eternally benefited, God is glorified. And it works conversely. These two are symbiotic entities. They require and enhance each other. When God is glorified it always brings good to humans. His glory is what makes the universe sing. And when it sings, people are blessed by its song.
If this is true, then it’s a no-brainer that every spiritual leader must know and practice it. I propose that these two things become the filter through which we should pass all our thoughts, all our words, and all our actions. In the way you live and the way you lead others, I suggest that you continually ask yourself these two questions – “Does this bring glory to God? Does it bring good to people?”
Another way to put it…
God-Centered and People-Oriented
I think the Lord gave this to me as a sort of motto for one of our churches. This is very much akin to the “glory of God and good of people.” It’s a statement of a corporate priority. I like it because it puts first-things-first, and second-things-second, with everything else following.
Notice that it’s “God-Centered and People-Oriented.” You don’t want those transposed into “God-oriented and people-centered.” A lot of churches are like that. They are simply oriented around God but centered on people. In other words, the needs and desires of people trump the centrality of God. But God must be always and forever be our center.
And then, though we shouldn’t put people at the center, we must be people-oriented. That is, we can’t forget that the Church is people. It’s not about programs, or policies. The church isn’t budgets, bureaucracies, or buildings. While we must be centered on God, we must also be oriented to people – helping each one to find their center in Him.
Let’s be practical
- When Paul said, “All this is for your benefit” and “for the glory of God” he was referring to his sufferings. He was saying that he was willing to pay any price so that God’s goals can be achieved. What are you suffering right now that would be easier to endure if you reminded yourself that it is for the glory of God?
- How might people be benefitted by your endurance of the difficulties in your life?
If your pastor or someone in a discipleship or mentoring role in your life would be benefitted by this reminder of what it’s all about, please pass this on to them.