There is a proverb, “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” It refers to one who so singularly seeks his own personal good (displaced to “heaven”) that he is of no good to anyone. Such a position cannot be truly Christian, for Christ has commanded love: Love of God, love of neighbor — even love of enemy.
The supreme example of this lies with Christ. He sought first the glory of the Father — and his own glory:
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
John 17:1-5. In this act of giving glory to God, human beings, receive eternal life. God being glorified results in not merely God’s glory but human good. The trouble comes when one seeks human good directly, irrespective of God’s glory. It always ends in a mess. Humanity runs at a permanent deficit, it has no glory to spare. To give any man glory, as an end itself, comes at the expense of another man’s life. It is a zero-sum game.
Yet, not so when God is glorified. In that moment, blessing is multiplied and good results. This was the case in Muller’s orphanage. The children will blessed, wonderfully so. But protection of orphans was the ultimate aim:
Again, nothing was ever to be revealed to outsiders of existing need, lest it should be construed into an appeal for help; but the only resort must be to the living God. The helpers were often reminded that the supreme object of the institutions, founded in Bristol, was to prove God’s faithfulness and the perfect safety of trusting solely to His promises; jealousy for Him must therefore restrain all tendency to look to man for help.
Arthur Tappan Pierson. “George Müller of Bristol.” Muller sought God’s glory, but seeking God’s glory resulted in unspeakable good to thousands.