“So, Tim, why are you doing this?”
I was telling my Mom about some of the ideas I had for the short musical contest that I had signed up for, when she turned around to look at me to ask the question. It was a simple enough question, and yet I found it a little irritating. To me, it implied that she thought something was wrong, that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
“Well, on the one hand, I’m following the advice that another composer gave me: I need to write more often, give myself more deadlines. Also, doing this will give me experience writing a short musical in Chinese, and I’ll be able to get in contact with other people in Taiwan who are interested in musicals, so more people can find out about my work. Why are you asking?”
Mom raised her eyebrows and replied, “I just thought that the main purpose should be to glorify God.”
I flushed, slightly embarrassed that I forgot to mention something so important, but I quickly defended myself, “Oh, of course that’s the main reason! I just took it for granted that you would know it’s the unspoken reason for why I’m writing this musical, so I didn’t even bother mentioning it.”
As I turned back to work on the musical, the question continued to gnaw away at me. Was I really doing it for the glory of God? Or had I become completely focused on writing this musical for my own potential gain and benefit?
A few hundred years ago, the term “Soli Deo gloria” was written by composers such as Bach and Handel on many of their music compositions. It is the Latin phrase meaning “Glory to God alone.” It was a reminder for themselves – and everyone in the future who would read their manuscripts – that the purpose of their music was to bring glory to God. I’m also discovering the importance of constantly reminding myself that the purpose of my work should be to glorify God.
Practically speaking, what does it look like when a musical is written with the purpose of glorifying God? I’m still learning, but one thing I know: often I am focused on just the final product, when God should be glorified throughout the entire process. That means constantly reminding myself and everyone I’m working with WHY we’re doing what we’re doing.
Most importantly, God should be glorified not only through the musical, but in EVERYTHING that I do.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I Corinthians 10:31