I'm going to give you a second because you probably read that title wrong. Read it again because this is about to become a study in words.
I've been rolling this one around in my head for a couple of days now, along with the song that prompted it all. It's a Steven Curtis Chapman tune that's been playing on the radio quite a bit. It's called "Do Everything." Here are the lyrics to which I will be referring:
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you 'cause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face, tell the story of grace, with every move that you make, and every little thing you do.
It was probably way past my twentieth time of hearing (and singing along with, embarrassingly so, at stoplights and on interstates) that it hit me I wasn't singing what I was hearing. If you've been following along, you know this would not be the first time I've come to such a realization. But in this case, not thinking there was much of a difference and not being familiar with these particular words or the way SCC phrases it, I was singing, "Do everything you do for the glory of the One who made you...."
To and For.
If you're at all like me, the difference has already hit you but you can't...quite...articulate exactly what that difference is, which is why I'm writing this post today and not Friday. But I think I've got it.
To is more pressure.
I've done a lot of things in my life, including a lot of things for glory - mine and His. (Just honest, but this is going to be about His glory.) God's glory is an incredible thing; it's the way we know He's here, an intangible God in a tangible world. Through His glory, God is revealed. The question of To and For is exactly how we are revealing that glory, and to what extent it becomes a mission of our heart and not just a mission of our flesh, to do so.
When we do something for the glory of God, we're trying to make sure He is glorified. God glorified is the end game. I do whatever I do so that you will see His glory. The purpose of my work is His glory.
Which is all well and good and certainly a beautiful thing, certainly better than work that would not glorify God at all. But what's missing here is the heart piece. Because that purpose is outside of you, outside of me, as the worker of God. It is this other thing, this outside thing, we are doing and it doesn't get into our heart in the same way as if it were more a piece of us. It goes back to what I said a few weeks ago about ministry and balance - when God becomes something you do, you forget that He is someone you love. Same principle - if we do all things for the purpose of God's glory, that glory is outside of us and we're putting ourselves toward a thing without being into that very thing.
When we do something to the glory of God, that changes. We are still trying to make sure He is glorified, but His glory is not only the end game. Now, I do whatever I do in a way that allows you to see His glory. The process of my work is His glory. Now, I'm not just creating glory for God; I'm also giving it.
It's a subtle difference, but a powerful one. It's the change in perspective that allows God's word and work to get inside you. It's the kind of thing helps create the ministry-worship balance I previously referenced (check out my inner links earlier in this post). It reminds you, in the process of work, that you love Him because you're trying not just to look at His glory but to live it.
I sing this song with the right lyrics now, but they still catch me. They catch me because I recognize this subtle difference, and I want to hold my heart accountable to what I am doing - and why. I do everything I do to the glory of the One who made me...for the glory of the One who made me.
** As far as I am aware, Steven does not know this post exists, and although I make no official endorsement, from one music lover to another, I have always appreciated his style and lyrics. You can find this song on his Re: Creation CD at Amazon. As an affiliate, I do earn a small bit through Amazon for every purchase through this link. (Legal stuff, you know?) **