The news spread like wildfire across the globe. Man’s purpose had been found, and that purpose was to glorify God.
The artists leapt for joy. They were vindicated at last! They were not idlers at all—they merely had years of experience at glorifying God each in their own way.
They all set to work. Singers sang songs, painters painted paintings, writers wrote writings, sculptors sculpted sculptures, speakers spoke speeches, all of them in a newfound fervor of purpose.
And with all the practice they had to put into it, they all got very good at what they did. Most of them did, at least. Some of them only got good, and some of them barely got better at all. And so the artists gradually became critics.
Not mean-spirited critics of course. Not at first. They simply pointed out that so-and-so did an excellent job of glorifying God over here, and that such-and-such could glorify him ever so much more if such-and-such would just make this little change…ah, much better.
Of course there were disagreements. Did this glorify God, or did that? And if so, why? And how? And suggestions began to pop up. And then strong suggestions. And then rules. Like, “Whosoever plays a note off key does so to the deglorification of God,” and “Thou shalt not use the Oxford comma,” and many more besides.
The artists began to pride themselves in their knowledge and mastery of these rules. Festivals sprung up to celebrate the man’s finest efforts at glorifying God, and the greatest in each field were lauded for their works.
And at one of these festivals, there was a little girl. She wasn’t an artist. She wasn’t a sculptor or a musician or a writer or a painter or a chef or a speaker or a preacher or a singer or a dancer or a pipe-cleaner diorama maker. She wasn’t anyone. Just a little girl, no older than nine.
And that little girl said something. Or perhaps she sang something. Nobody remembers. Nobody remembers because nobody heard it happen. Whatever she said or did or made was too quiet, too small, too insignificant for anyone to notice, like the hollow plink of a widow’s last coin plinking into an offering basket. Even she could not hear herself over the atmosphere of self-congratulation.
The little girl did not think long about what she had done, and had quite forgotten it by the next day. She grew old, and never became famous or renowned, never did anything of note, never married, and had few friends. She came to her deathbed quiet and alone, and passed over with no ceremony or fanfare.
God came to her then. As she stepped into his warm embrace, he told her, “As a little girl, you once said something. Nobody heard you, nobody but me. And nobody has ever glorified me as much as you did then.”
I wish knew what she said, that little girl. I saw her, but I don’t even remember her name. I was there, you see, that gathering of the artists. But I didn’t hear her. I was too busy writing this story. For you. For me.