In today’s blog post I could say so much on “SDG.” Yet, I dare not take away from the simplicity and power of these three letters.
In an earlier blog post, I shared I’ve been reading the book, ” All In, by National Community Church Pastor Mark Batterson of Washington, D.C. The book’s premise encourages an “all or nothing” lifestyle Christians should pursue for God. Chapter 12 is simply entitled “SDG.” I wondered, “What is ‘SDG’?” As I read further, I learned that the famous 17th century German composer Johannes Sebastian Bach, whose body of work includes 256 cantatas, would inscribe the letters “SDG” in the margins of his sheet music completed. The three letters stood for the Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria— which means “to the glory of God alone.” My body tingled with good goosebumps as I digested this meaning.
Three powerful words and letters that say “it’s not about you. It’s not about me.” It’s about Him, and Him alone. No matter what God has called us to, we are to do it in excellence, unto Him. Our work should be motivated not for applause but for the cause in which we serve. What if we all serve each other in this manner? What if we set aside egos, selfish ambitions, and titles? What if we live not for the audience’s applause but for the audience of The One, Jesus Christ; the applause from nail-scarred hands?
Praise God for the air I breathe that I can say, “Soli Deo Gloria—to the glory of God alone” in all that I do. He deserves every ounce of my praise and more for the things He has done. One day all creatures in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and even the rocks will cry out and rejoice, “Soli Deo Gloria.”
Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain
A whisper. Gentle nudge. Poke. Stirring. Glimpses. Kick. All-consuming gut on fire. Through the years I’ve become more attuned to God’s voice in my life, how He shepherds me in a particular direction. It begins with a whisper, a gentle nudge—perhaps followed by a thought that will make me say, “Hmm.” He’ll then allow me a bit more time to meditate on the thought. Shortly thereafter, I receive glimpses in my spirit. Then instinctively things and situations seem to “click,” signaling me to the next turn even without the luxury of a map to guide me. With more prayer and quiet time, the direction sharpens and then as if someone rips the gears, I move from 1st to 5th, fueled by an all-consuming-gut-on-fire sense of “need to move now.” I’ve experienced this on several occasions and this time is no different. When God urges my next moves, it is based on my hunger to do more for His Kingdom. That’s what motivates me. My dear friend Hakim Hazim recently reminded me of this verse from Matthew 5:6 which speaks to my situation: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” (New International Version)
I recently came into possession of a book that is “on time.” All In, by National Community Church Pastor Mark Batterson of Washington, D.C., suggests an “all or nothing” lifestyle Christians should pursue for God. The glimpses and stirring within increase as I absorb the message page by page. I expect the kick and then the all-consuming-gut-on-fire as God directs my next steps. We’re not to be tepid. We’re either hot or cold in how we use our talents. You may be at a point (like me) where God is preparing you for something but details are still forming. In these moments we may question our ability to rise to the occasion, as it is our desire to represent Him in excellence wherever we go. Then I remind myself, that it’s not about me, it’s about Him. If He brings me to it, then He’s prepared me for it.
A section from Chapter 7 of All In reaffirmed my confidence: “No one can spot potential like Jesus. And that’s because He’s the one who gave it to us in the first place. Potential is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to God.”
How is God speaking to you about your next move? Are you silencing the whispers or gentle nudge so you can stay comfortable? Are you using your potential to the fullest? Or have you buried your talent in the ground, playing it safe, like the man in this parable? Are doubts and fears hindering you from boldly moving forward? Remember, entering new territory requires us to stretch and experience some discomfort—though we must move beyond the initial discomfort. We must put our faith in action. Why put gas in the car if you’re not going to drive it? Trust that if He’s directing you, He’s already prepared you for the journey. Pray for clarity as He moves you forward. Your talents unlock someone else’s blessings.