This is the next installment in what has been an all-too-brief study of the Lord’s Prayer. It concerns the last few words of the last sentence, “For Yours is…the glory…”

His glory. The glory is His. The glory for all that exists. The glory for all that He has created. The glory for all that He has done, and ultimately He does everything—everything of any eternal consequence, that is. Yes, I know men and woman have done notable works down through history. They have ruled, and some have done well; but many were either incompetent or downright evil. Mothers and fathers have raised families, but far too many of them have done their parenting by their individual and/or cultural lights, which have had nothing whatsoever to do with our great Redeemer and Savior God. Men and women have achieved amazing scientific and technological breakthroughs by studying and understanding the order and material which God created. Many of these breakthroughs, particularly medical and technological ones, have without question, benefited mankind. They have, by and large, made life easier, more comfortable, safer and faster. But regardless of how much we have achieved, in and through it all, God is the one who provided the brainpower, physical strength and insight to achieve it. He has never, not once, stopped being sovereign and managing it all. Unfortunately, He has not been the One who has been glorified—we have glorified ourselves. We are the powerful ones. We are the creative ones. We are the intelligent ones. No—all these gifts come from God, by His grace. I’m glad for the achievements. They’ve made my life more comfortable and easier, too. I’m glad for the gifts that God has given us to accomplish these things. But God should have been given the glory, since He is the gift giver, not only of our brains but of the very air we breathe.

I’m ashamed to admit that, even as I write this, I find myself struggling with believing it is actually true. I’ve been so conditioned to exalt man that I find it counterintuitive to exalt God for what man has done with the gifts the Lord has given. “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” Look what man has accomplished! What we can do if we apply ourselves! Why do I feel like I’m standing at the base of an ancient tower that somehow might “reach the heavens”?

Even the Church, may the Lord forgive us, has bought into this. We misappropriate the verse from Philippians that says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” We put it on posters and t-shirts, as if by believing it, we can achieve great things in the world. It’s weird that we so seldom read this verse in context. Here it is: “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble” (Philippians 4:10–14 ESV). Paul wrote that he had learned to be content in Jesus Christ whether he was hungry or full, whether he faced abundance or need. This wasn’t a truth so he could get pumped up to accomplish great things—it was a truth that helped him remain content and trusting no matter what the circumstances.

We may accomplish great things in our lives. We may make lots of money and possess lots of things. We may have creative insights that will help people’s lives. We may even be instrumental in changing the course of government. However, I can tell you with assurance that, when you and I stand before the Lord Himself, our earthly accomplishments will mean nothing at all. Because where He is right now, He is the only one receiving glory from the inhabitants of heaven. No one abiding in that eternal place is impressed with anything that is done on earth. Perhaps we should begin to add our voices to theirs and express the truth that all the glory for everything done here belongs to Him. Let’s consider being less impressed with the next advancement of CGI in movie making, the next iteration of an electronic device or medical breakthrough and instead be impressed with Him. Let’s endeavor, by His grace, to have an eternal perspective about what is happening on the earth. All of this that we see, touch and interact with physically will turn to ashes one day. Or, to quote that great theologian and gladiator, Proximo, it’s all, “Shadows and dust.”

“For Yours in the glory.” I’m glad that Jesus didn’t add, “And thank You, Father, for making it possible for people to glorify themselves a little, too.”