May 26, 2010

The Chief End of Man

In college, I attended a lovely, Bible-teaching church that ascribed to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. This comprehensive document expounds upon the major tenets of the Christian faith. And, since each of its statements contains Scripture proofs, my pastor sought creative ways to familiarize the congregation with it. As a start, he asked an artistically gifted member to paint the first ten catechism questions onto the lobby walls.

The first one, positioned directly across from the entrance, met us squarely in the eye as we came through the doors:

What is the chief and highest end of man?
Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever. (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:31; Psalms 16:5-11)

“End” in this case equals purpose. So a more contemporary interpretation of the precept could be:

What is a person’s main purpose?
To honor God and enjoy Him forever

Thus, according to God, my main reason for living is to honor Him – to believe, obey, emulate, praise, and point others to Him. When my words and actions line up with that purpose, I’m on the right track; when I run counter to it, I’ve stumbled and lost my way.

To illustrate, consider my pastor’s daughter, a teen who recently participated in our city’s marathon. Megan has cerebral palsy so, though she can walk, she could never attempt such a feat on her own. Instead, the church sponsored four special running chairs through an organization called My Team Triumph, and Megan captained one of the teams. She “ran” the entire marathon with the help of able-bodied racers who took turns pushing her chair.

Megan is cognitively disabled, has one paralyzed arm, and cannot really run. She’ll always need another’s care. From a “survival of the fittest” mentality, some would question her purpose for being. But Megan glorified God on race day by pointing others to Him.

As she needed help to run the race, she reminded us that we need help, too, because we cannot dream of getting to heaven without Jesus having run for us. And, as Megan beamed throughout the day, she reminded us of the joy we have when we allow Jesus to direct our life’s journey.

Whether or not you’re “important” in the world’s eyes, you can be like Megan. You can fulfill your chief purpose every day, through big actions and small. In return, God will reward you with peace, contentment, and joy in every temporal circumstance.

Photo Credit: susan_d_p


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