One of my favorite prayers in Scripture is Mary’s beautiful Magnificat, which begins with the phrase, “ My soul magnifies the Lord”(Luke 1:46) Curious about the use of “magnify” in Scripture, I discovered that it is used well over 100 times. If you think about it, is there a better way to describe our purpose as followers of Christ?
See the Lord in Proper Place and Perspective
To begin, we must realize that magnifying The Lord does not mean that we are making Him more since that would be absurd. How can we, imperfect creatures of God, make our perfect Creator more? A magnifying glass does not make its target image bigger. Rather, it makes that target bigger for us to see better. There is no imperfection or limitation in the object but, rather, in ourselves that we need help in seeing that object more clearly.
Although God is perfection and all good, we often need reminders that He can seem small to us if we forget His Presence in our lives. First, we need to magnify that Presence in ourselves through our worship, praise, humility, and good works. Second, we need to magnify that Presence in others through those same good works, our example, and our proclamation of God’s Word.
Remove Our Splinters and Thread Our Needles
We have all had the unpleasant experience of having a splinter in our hand. Everyone knows that such a task often requires the use of a magnifying glass to help us remove this obstruction. This brings the mind Christ’s powerful reminder that we first remove our defects before presuming to point out those of other people ( Matthew 7:5). It is easy to judge others in our drive to drive to be holier-than-thou, but Christ tells us to be humble. Regardless of the size of our defects, we often see them, if we do at all, as mere splinters. How often do we downplay our faults while magnifying the faults of others? We need to see our sins more clearly if we are to truly avoid continuing them.
Another famous passage reminds us that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to find eternal salvation ( Luke 18:25). We understand this to mean that we cannot save ourselves unless we release our obsession with the temporary, temporal, and superficial things of this world. Self-reflection will enlarge the eye of our moral needle allowing us to navigate this delicate balance between our present and eternal needs.
Start a Fire
A final use of a magnifying glass is to start a fire by focusing heat and energy on a given point. We do this by concentrating diffuse light into a powerful beam. While our lives bear their share of darkness and light, even our light can often be diffused. We need passion, dedication, commitment, and constancy to focus that light into one important purpose.
Christ’s mission and His apostles sought to light a fire under others and motivate them to spread the flame of Our Lord’s love message. We need to inspire others and we do that by magnifying the power of God’s love and the example of Christ’s teaching unto hearts and minds that still lack such a blessing.
Magnifying glasses do many great things that make our lives better. However, we have the same capacity to prioritize, self-reflect, and ignite and spread dedication to Our Lord. Biblical magnification is not about ourselves but about magnifying God (Psalm 35:26-27).
Let us each be a magnifying glass for The Lord, for that in essence is what being His follower is really about.
2016 Gabriel Garnica