Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (Ps 73:25)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)
“whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet 4:11)
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:11)
“It’s not worth my time” may be one of the smartest thing we can learn to say. It means we are thinking about what is valuable and what isn’t. We are asking ourselves, “What should I be doing?” “What would I rather do?” “What should I live for?” We have to ask, because not everything that demands our attention is really important. Wisdom means knowing the difference between when something is worth-while, and when it is a waste of time.
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God…” challenges us to think about our values. How should you live? What would you rather do with your life? Glorify God, or anything else?
Unfortunately, we are not always very good at answering this question. But what happens when we allow anything to compete with God in our hearts? When glorifying God is not our chief end, the main and the ultimate reason we live, we are saying something. We are making a statement that God is not worthy, that he is not worth our time and life. That is idolatry. What’s wrong with idolatry is not so much that we recognize the relative merit of other things in our lives, whether their merit is real (friends, career, hobby) or made up (friends, career, hobby). Idolatry is having a low estimation of God’s worth that we answer the question “What should I live for?” with “Not God.”
I have only one question for you. What (who) is more worthy than your Creator and Redeemer?
“…and to enjoy him forever” is an interesting phrase. How do you enjoy God? Maybe we can think about it like this. There is a difference between using something and enjoying something. We use something to acquire what we really desire. For example, we use money to acquire what really makes us happy: a new car, a new pair of shoes, or a new iPhone. Money is useful because it is a means to something else we really want. Perhaps some people love money for its own sake. We call them sick.
What we enjoy is what our heart really desires, that for which we sacrifice and spend. Think about it like this. When a man asks a woman to marry him because he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her, his desire is to enjoy her. He longs for her. She is his heart’s desire. He would gladly endure a life of hardship with her than go on living without her.
But what if he wants to marry her not because he loves (i.e. enjoys) her, but because her father is rich? Well, that is a mercenary thing to do, isn’t it? He is only using her. His real desire is not for her, but for her inheritance.
Enjoying God also means we are desiring him, not using him to gain something else. We are saying there is nothing and no one more worthy of our devotion and worship than God. See Rev 4:11 above.
So, how do we glorify and enjoy him? Let’s try 5 things (the following 5 points are taken from Thomas Watson’s “A Body of Divinity,” 7-8, 13):
Appreciation. To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and to have a venerable esteem of him. “For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” (Ps 97:9)
Adoration. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship. “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” (Ps 29:2)
Affection. This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6:5) Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief part of our affections.
Subjection. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members.
Contentment. We glorify God, by being contented in that state in which Providence has placed us. We give God the glory of his wisdom, when we rest satisfied with what he carves out to us.
Suggestions for Family/Private Devotion: Pray that you may consider God’s worth rightly. Pray that serving such a great God would fill you with joy. Use “Be Thou My Vision” (Trinity Hymnal 642) to enjoy God.