March 26, 2020 (Thursday) - Seeking Glory - A Reflection on John 5:31-47

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

Today’s passage reminded me of something I had heard Indira Gandhi once say: “My grandfather,” she said, “once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.” Over the years, I have discovered the truth of this. Everybody wants to take credit. Because everybody wants glory. Don’t you?

We want to be recognized and appreciated as awesome, amazing, wonderful people, so we do crazy things to get attention. Some show a lot of skin because that is a very easy way to get people to notice you, but there are other more “respectable” ways of soliciting praise, and I suspect we have all engaged in them in one way or another at some point or another.

Let’s get something straight first. There is nothing wrong in seeking glory. It is WHO you are seeking it from that decides that. Our Lord tells us who we need to focus on. “I do not accept glory from human beings,” he said (John 5:41). “But,” and now I paraphrase, “you accept glory from each other. You should seek the glory that comes from God!” (see John 5:44).

We need to seek glory from God, because when we seek glory from man, we often compromise on our values and end up engaging in practices that aren’t pleasing in the sight of God. If we introspect about this for a moment we will see how true this is. And, then, when we receive the glory we sought, we get conceited and proud, which leads to a further degradation of our souls.

If, however, we seek the glory that comes from God, then three things are accomplished. One, we are assured of doing the right thing, because only the right thing pleases God. Two, when we do the right thing, we bring glory to God. After all, doesn’t our conduct bring honor or dishonor to our parents? And three, we become a witness to a world that is divided in fighting each other for their own glory.

Something to think about today.