Only to God's Glory

I am praying for my son, who is soon going off to college. I am praying that he will watch where he is going, but that he will not fear the future!

I remember one especially self-absorbed moment from my childhood. I was lying on my bed fretting over some history homework (or social studies) that I did not want to do. Mom came in with a motherly inquiry. Why was I upset? I told her that I did not care about social studies.

It is funny that these many years later I am a passionate student, and especially of history. She sought to persuade my childs mind that history was important. We needed to know about the past, so we could learn not to make the same mistakes twice. We needed to know about the past in order to understand why we were here now, why we practice the traditions that we find normal now. Even before I was out of high school (probably ten years after the initial lesson), I understood what my mom was teaching me. When we understand where we have been, when we can see the trajectories, it is so much easier to see where we are going. Are you watching where you are going? Are you looking forward with a sense of optimism and hope?

I have a hard time seeing the future. In reality, I am about as blind as they come. When I was watching the news the other day, I wondered if we were hearing the precursors to a new world war. I have wondered if world war was the real ambition of the terrorists of September 11th. With every downturn of political events or economic down-shifts, we hear the cries of doom. I cannot see the future, but I remain unafraid.

There will be wars and rumors of war Jesus told us (Matthew 24:6). I suppose we are less afraid of the future when our goals are not very concrete. Right now in my family, money is tight, yet we earn more (numerically) than we have ever earned in our lives. We are homeowners for the first time in our lives. Almost every day someone is commenting on my daughters truck. She is only thirteen, so they are seeing me drive it. Nice truck! Nice tires! The sporty black four-door Dodge Dakota has raised yellow letter NASCAR tires. Its cool. It is not very preacher-like, but the preacher likes it! We are about to send our son off to a private Christian college, which we cannot really afford to do. We have stuff, but we are not in love with the stuff. When I was setting up my retirement account, I told my friend who was helping me that I thought we should be bold in our strategy. If my accounts did not grow, I would not lose sleep over it. I would not be checking the market. If I can never retire, okay. I dont see retirement in the Bible anyway. If I am a little old man who cannot afford medicine, I will still die happy, and peaceful. I pray that I will not complain or have a sense of being cheated by anyone. This attitude helps me to be unafraid about the future. God loves me, anyway. He loves me smart and healthy and able. He loves me diseased, dumb, and unable. I would like for my children to trust God with the outcomes of their lives.

On the other hand, I want to be a good steward of the life that God provides. Life is a precious commodity. We all get just one. We do not want to let it pass unintentionally. We do not want to miss the purpose for being alive. As we send off our son, we remind him of his trajectory. He is a very good son. He is compassionate. He is talented. He is a good student and a good employee. He is a leader. I am very proud of him. We are about to launch him into the world in a new and different way. I want him to be bold, to dream big dreams and to pray big prayers. I want him to act with great energy in the direction of those dreams and prayers. I want him to know that he is loved regardless of success or failure. I want him to be unafraid about the future.

I read this week that J. S. Bach signed all of his completed works, even his humble musical exercises, ‘Soli Deo Gloria. If my life turns out well, and I have every expectation that it will unless I lose my mind and irreparably wreck it (and I am not sure what that looks like), all of the glory belongs to God. If my sons life turns out well, all of the glory belongs to God. I pray that he will be famous and rewarded for his talents, but that he will always recognize the source and the goal of the gifts. I hope he will be audacious enough to point people to God, to live comfortably and sacrificially in the community of faith, and to give all of his gifts to Gods use. Watch where youre going, son! Soli Deo Gloria.


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