Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A #1

Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
1 Corinthians 10:31: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Norman Maclean, in his autobiographical work, A River Runs Through It, shared a memory of his childhood as it pertained to this question. "In between on Sunday afternoons we had to study The Westminster Shorter Catechism for an hour and then recite before we could walk the hills with my father while he unwound between services. But he never asked us more than the first question in the catechism, "What is the chief end of man?" And we answered together so one of us could carry on if the other forgot, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever." This always seemed to satisfy him, as indeed such a beautiful answer should have."

Indeed, it is a beautiful statement. It reminds us of what we were created to do, and that there is true enjoyment in doing it. God, the author and creator of life, created us to worship him, to glorify him in all things! But there is more here. By glorifying God, we find that we actually enjoy him. We find fellowship and communion with our heavenly Father that is eternal in scope. This is our true contentment! Being created to glorify God doesn't just benefit God (not that God could be enriched or benefit from us!). No, rather, we find that we, the created finite beings, are the ones who benefit infinitely.

This fellowship and communion is what we lost in the garden when our first parents fell, and it is exactly what we find again through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Such a statement should satisfy us just as it satisfied Maclean's father. Can we see the beauty in this statement?

But Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 10 are indeed challenging to us. Whatever we do, do all to the glory of God. How miserably we fail at this. But here is the hope of the gospel: Having been robed in the righteousness of Christ, having been brought back into fellowship with God, we can, through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, truly strive to do all things to the glory of God.

And brothers and sisters, this is our framework for living, isn't it? We have our purpose for this life summarized in the catechism, and we have the standard and guide for our lives in the words of the apostle. Do we want to find true contentment? Find eternal contentment in worshiping and communing with God! And how do we worship and commune with God? By seeking to glorify him in all that we do! May we take up this charge. May we make it our prayer every day that God, through the working of the Spirit in our lives, would help us to truly glorify and honor him in all that we think, say, and do!

Posted on January 9, 2015 and filed under Teaching.