God is Everything! Everything! Everything!
This story is recounted by Donald McCullough in his book, The Trivialization of God. MCullough does a great job of giving us a higher view of God (How Great Thou Art, page 19). We are not “nothing”, as the conductor states below. But we are trivial compared to the greatness of God. I know that may bother some of you, but please stick with me until the end. I prefer to see the big picture here. Appreciate the greatness of Beethoven! But more yet, appreciate and applaud the greatness of God!
“After Arturo Toscanini finished conducting a brilliant performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the audience rose to its feet and applauded, shouting its delight. But Toscanini waved his arms violently for it all to stop. He turned to the orchestra and shouted hoarsely, “You are nothing!” He pointed to himself and shouted, “I am nothing!” Then he shouted, “Beethoven is everything, everything, everything.”
“Christian worship must say, “God is everything, everything, everything.” What we do on Sunday mornings (or whenever we gather), the order of events and the manner in which we enact the drama, must always point to God, must reinforce again and again that God has taken the initiative and called us together, that God’s grace is more important than our sin, that God’s will is more important than our desires, and that God’s glorification is more important than our edification.
All worship ought to be ordered toward God; services should be put together in a way that keeps our attention centered on God. As we look up to the One seated on the throne, we lose sight of everything else; the Holy God commands and consumes our attention. What we really need… is for our attention to be turned toward the glory of God. Only in turning toward the Light can we do the dance, and only in this (way) will our deepest needs be met.” (End of the quote from Donald McCullough, HGTA, p. 19)
Again, neither McCullough nor Toscanini mean that we are “nothing”. In fact, every person is made in the very image of God, and every believer has the potential mind of Christ. But, compared to the Greatness of God, we are like chaff blowing in the wind. We are no match for the Greatness of God. And yet, what is almost unbelievable is that this same God loves us. He wants to be with us, and to be near us. He pursues us with a relentless love, and He does not easily give up His quest for our hearts.
But, when we trivialize God, or when we bring Him down to our level, we do nothing but belittle ourselves in the process. When we allow our minds to create God in our image, rather than allowing God to reshape us in His image, we short-change both our lives and our eternal rewards. In the words of J.B. Phillips, “Our God is too small.” (J.B. Phillips’ Book published in 1963, Your God is Too Small).
We would be much better off to Super-size our view of God, than we would to downsize Him or trivialize His ways.