“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Johann Sebastian Bach was to classical music what William Shakespeare was to English literature and Sir Isaac Newton was to physics. His body of work includes 256 cantatas. Bach’s music is a rapturous experience, not merely melodies and harmonies. His cantatas didn’t originate as music; they were prayers before they were songs.

Before Bach started scoring a sheet of music, he would scrawl “J.J.” at the top for “Jesu Juva” = Jesus help me. Then at the completion of every composition, Bach inscribed three letters in the margin of his music: “SDG” which is “Soli Deo Gloria,” Latin for “To the glory of God alone.”

Could you imagine how different life would be if everyone lived to the glory of God? If our ideas and business plans originated as prayers? It’s not about what you do. It’s about why you do what you do, and ultimately, your life is about who you do it for. Soli Deo Gloria is living for an audience of one. It is living for the applause of nail-scarred hands. Just Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less.

Adapted from “Soli Deo Gloria” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis