There are one billion minutes watched on YouTube every day. For perspective, you’d have to watch YouTube for every second of your life for 30 lifetimes to reach that daily amount. That’s a lot of time on YouTube every day, and that’s not counting Netflix, Prime Video, TikTok, Instagram, video games, Twitter, Facebook, and other entertainment platforms. I don’t have the exact math, but there is a tremendous amount of time spent on these platforms every day.
To be fair, though, the world has a lot of time to offer. If you total every second that each person in the world will live today, you end up with about seven hundred trillion seconds—that’s 700,000,000,000,000 seconds spent on something every day.
I’m doing this math to make a point. God is worthy of every second.
When I first saw how many minutes are watched on YouTube every day—this might seem like a weird connection—but my mind immediately started thinking about how that time can change the way I think about God’s glory. In a way, it clarifies how big of a deal it is for God to be glorified in everything.
Thinking Big by Thinking Small
On a global scale, there is a lot going on every second. And everything happening during those countless seconds, God deserves it. That’s how glorious God is, and that’s how awesome the Great Commission is. The goal is for the gospel to convert as many of those 700 trillion seconds every day into moments of worship for God’s glory.
That gives me chills. When I read that grand goal, I can feel my core saying, “I want that.” But I can also feel an internal hesitation.
It’s over a year now since God first struck me with these thoughts. There was a lot going on with elections at the time, and a parallel came to mind. The parallel is that there is a considerably large population of people who decided they wanted a certain president to be elected… and yet didn’t vote. They said to themselves—and sometimes even publicly—“I want that president”, and yet didn’t contribute in the polls.
It feels like a contradiction, with someone’s actions (or lack thereof) working in opposition to their own goals.
How can we explain that? I sense that part of the answer has to do with busyness or laziness—or, to go even deeper, a part of us that actually isn’t interested in seeking a greater good. We might think that something is good (like a certain person being elected as president) and yet waver in our own will to actually sacrifice for the sake of that good (like taking time to go vote).
I think this can be true for Christians. We strongly desire to see the Great Commission being accomplished, and yet waver in our daily conviction to strive for the sake of the gospel.
It Starts with You
I want to emphasize another reason, though. Maybe sometimes we simply undervalue our participation? When it comes to large movements, I think there is a temptation to view our contribution as insignificant, as if nothing is going to change in the grand scheme of things whether I’m involved or not.
But there’s a massive difference between God being glorified and a president being elected. For an election, you have to trust that a certain number of people will rally together simultaneously in order to experience a change in president. But you don’t have to rely on anyone else in order to experience God’s glory. There is an awesome weight of glory just in the life of one person communing with God. That can be yours regardless of what others around you decide to do.
For God to be glorified in everything, that necessarily involves you. Your participation is incredibly valuable. You can be extremely involved in a presidential election in vain, never experiencing the POTUS you worked so hard to see in office. But a desire for God to be glorified is never disappointed. You experience it the second you step on the path of working towards it.
I hope that glory of just one individual life compels you. But not just for your sake.
Zoom out from yourself and start to see the incredible weight of glory that can be participated in, not just personally but also collectively. You and those you care most about can share in the greatest privilege and joy together.
Keep zooming out. This isn’t just about you or your closest loved ones; imagine a whole community sharing in the experience and expansion of God’s glory. (That’s the heart behind pastoral ministry, seeing a whole church gather around each other to help maximize the enjoyment and display of God’s glory.)
Keep going. God’s glory reaches farther than that.
This awesome glory can be a reality not just in an individual or a community; the weight of this glory can continue to multiply as you zoom out to your city, your state, your nation, your continent, and the world. Every precious moment of communion, worship, and service by each individual can become so exponentially great when zooming out and viewing the expanse of our world. It’s exciting to think of God receiving and revealing that much glory.
I want to be a part of that—not just in my own life, but in the world. God has a big vision, and I want to help ignite a passion for His glory in every moment and every nation—to be so envious for that global experience and display of God’s glory that we’d zealously launch into missions until every stone is turned and every heartbeat becomes a sweet smelling offering to God.
This is Paul’s passion in Romans.
“On some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:15-16).
It’s striking to me that Paul viewed his missionary work as priestly work. He views the gospel as the only thing powerful enough to transform people into living sacrifices for God’s glory. Apart from the gospel, there’s no way for our lives to create a sweet-smelling aroma to God; it’s only stench. But by the power of the gospel, we can present ourselves as living sacrifices to God, actually emitting an aroma that rises up to God and makes him smile. Nothing else can do that. And every second, by the power of the gospel, we can emit that sweet smell.
That’s the individual level in Romans 12:1—present your body as a living sacrifice. Zoom out, and you can understand where Paul is coming from in chapter 15. He wants to present the Gentiles (plural) as a pleasing sacrifice to God. The goal of his missionary work was not just to change one person by the power of the gospel, but that the gospel would spread to the extent that a sweet-smelling aroma is collectively rising from a whole group of people.
It’s like lights in a city. As more and more people use electricity, there becomes a bright fog that is visible from space. Through the spread of the gospel, I want God to look at the world and see a sky filled with a bright fog, a reflection of all those who are emitting that sweet smell of a transformed life. The prayer is that every corner of the map would be lit up.
It’s ultimately a prayer to be one step closer to heaven, one step closer to a world with quadrillion moments of worship in a single day. To steal YouTube’s terminology, let’s increase the viewership of God’s glory and lengthen the seconds spent by Christian’s gazing at his glory. Our attention span for YouTube is relatively short. But God’s got enough content to keep people glorying in him forever. He’s worthy of it all.