But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
The purpose of our work is no different than the purpose of our lives, namely to glorify God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). “Glorify” is a word we throw around so much that it can become difficult to define. As John Piper says, to glorify God simply means to “reflect his greatness” or reveal his character to others.
So, if the purpose of our work is to reveal the Lord’s character to the world, what exactly are his characteristics? The Bible describes God in many ways, but it is his character of creative excellence that is perhaps most visible to us. You can’t stare out at the Grand Canyon and not marvel at the masterful work of God. You can’t go to a zoo without appreciating the creative supremacy of the Creator. And you can’t take a baby by its hand and not stare in wonder at the excellence it takes to make millions of cells form together to create life. As we saw in last week’s devotional passage, God’s character of excellence also shone through in Jesus’s life on earth, with his contemporaries marveling that “he had done everything well.” We worship the preeminent God. A perfect God. “Excellent” is far too trite a word to describe the God of the universe. But it is the closest we as mere mortals can hope to understand and attain.
As God’s children, we are called to be image bearers of our exceptional Father. In Ephesians 5:1, Paul instructs the Church “as beloved children” to “be imitators of God.” Commenting on this passage, theologian Andreas Köstenberger says, “How should we respond to God’s excellence? In short, we should seek to imitate and emulate it…As God’s redeemed children, we are to strive to be like God. This, it appears, includes striving for excellence.” John Piper puts it this way: “God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”
In other words, we glorify God when we imitate his character of excellence and in doing so “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We live surrounded by darkness in a world that is desperate for something excellent and true. There is perhaps no more influential “sphere of life” for us to shine the light of Christ than in our chosen work. When we work with excellence, we have the great privilege of glorifying God and proclaiming his excellencies to the world around us. Go forth and do your work with excellence today!