Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What is the Chief End of Man?

This is a worthwhile question whether you are student of the Westminster Shorter Catechism or not. It seems simple enough, but upon closer inspection one quickly understands that it is very plainly asking for a singular answer. It doesn’t ask for “a chief end of man” since the exclusivity of the word, “chief” simply renders it illogical. No, instead pierces to the heart of the human condition with the unflinching audacity to demand and assume the truth.

The paradox is that our difficulty with this question only comes when we operate under the assumption that we in our humanity are the source for obtaining a valid answer. Our predicament grows even further when we begin to look within and reason that there is no valid response. Our culture clings to the ragged myth that there is no absolute truth, though some of the brightest and well-learned intellectuals of our day claim to believe this absolutely. Under this tail-chasing assumption, the belief that we are intended to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” is not merely an absurdity. It is an abomination of the highest order.

On the other hand, many who would agree with this statement, don’t allow its words to penetrate past the heart. This is what I wrestle with the most. Does my life glorify the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator of the heavens and the earth whose majesty is wrapped up in the triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Scripture unashamedly claims that truth is not only knowable, but that it is His and His alone. If I am to accept this along with God’s grace, and forgiveness, then am I not compelled by love to give Him more of my life than I already do?

This is difficult for us to swallow as we live in an age of bloated consumerism and an addiction to vain pursuits and platforms that turn the smallest of us into the gods of our own temporary universes. It’s tragically ironic that as our technology improves and our television screens grow wider and more defined, our vision of the world seems to proportionately fade and blur. What do we have time for, or better yet, what are we making time for? Though one much wiser than me wrote that out of the abundance of one’s heart the mouth speaks, I wonder how much louder our actions call out when we squander the opportunities and gifts we’ve been given on vain and worthless pursuits?

There are many ends to man, but only one of them is chief above all. May all else fall away as we dedicate our hearts to it.

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