Q. 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. 1: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
The Westminster Larger Catechism
Dear Friends in Christ,
This coming Lord’s Day is Reformation Sunday, traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of October in commemoration of the inauguration of the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517.
When I think of the Reformation my mind goes to the elegant articulation of reformed theology found in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Shorter and Larger catechisms that were drafted in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly by order of the Long Parliament of England. The purpose of the catechisms was/is for use in catechizing the church; the Larger for use by pastors as a guide to teaching the whole counsel of God to the congregation and the Shorter for the purpose of teaching the faith to children.
Many of us are familiar with the formulation of question and answer #1 in the Shorter Catechism; What is man’s chief end? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. The Larger Catechism begins with the same question and answer but phrased slightly differently as you’ve seen above.
Whether you like the shorter or larger version is a matter of taste I suspect. What is most important is the truth to which it points. The chief end of the existence of men, women and children is to glorify God. This is the plain, simple and profound truth of the scriptures. In Romans 11. 36 Paul writes For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen. And in I Corinthians 10.31 he says So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
So here’s a question you might ponder as you draw your workweek to a close: How have I glorified God in the work I have done this week? Perhaps this question is jarring to you because you haven’t considered your work as a means of glorifying God; but it is if for no other reason than the fact that your work fits into the category of “whatever you do” as mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church. Therefore, we must glorify God in and through the work that we do; but how?
And before we answer the “how?” question we need to answer the “what?” question; what does it mean to glorify God? In short, glorifying God means extolling the virtues of His nature, character, actions, words and promises. Extolling mean to “tell out” or to declare or speak about God and the wonder of all He is and all He says and all He does. So, how have you ‘told out’ or declared or, otherwise, made known the wonder of God in and through the work you’ve done this week?
Here are some ways you may glorify God with regard to the work you do each day:
- If you see something, say something! I had breakfast with one of our elders this morning who told me of the beautiful sunrise he experienced on his way to the diner. He saw something and then he said something to me; he glorified God thereby.
- Contemplate how your work helps to advance the kingdom of God either in what you do or in how you do it. God is a worker and you are His coworker; glorify Him by talking to Him about the work He has you doing.
- Rely upon His power at work within you to accomplish the work He gives you to do. Ask Him for strength, ability, insight, wisdom and then be sure to thank Him for it when you surely receive it.
- Reflect His image in your workplace; be the light of His character and nature and attributes to those you work with.
- Recognize that your work is a gift from God, one of the ways He provides for your needs and allows you to meet the needs of others and further the work of His church in the world.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Bring every thought, idea, hope, dream, plan, task before the Lord, seeking His blessing, enablement, direction, favor.
- Enjoy the relationships God has given to you and consider how the reconciling work of Christ on the cross enables and/or enhances that relationship.
- Serve others sacrificially.
- Don’t allow the attitudes, tone, survival mechanisms, sarcasm, skepticism, one-upmanship of your work environment suck you in and characterize how you relate to the world and the people in it. You are filled with the Holy Spirit; you are being transformed by the Holy Spirit; you are empowered by the Holy Spirit; live like it!
Telling out or extolling often involves us saying something and surely glorifying God often involves using our words. But sometimes we glorify God in an action, a thought, a smile, a touch. Glorifying God; it’s why we exist and He surely deserves it!
Faithfully in Him,
Posted on Fri, October 23, 2015
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