What On Earth Is My Purpose: The Chief End Of Man


Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,(a) and to enjoy him forever.(b)

(a) Ps 86:9; Isa 60:21; Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Cor 10:31; Rev 4:11

(b) Ps 16:5-11; Ps 144:15; Isa 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil 4:4; Rev 21:3-4

(a1) Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (a2) 1 Corinthians 6:20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (a3) 1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

(b1) Psalms 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (b2) Luke 2:10-11 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (b3) Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

When I was a boy, one of my duties in the winter time was to bring loads of wood to the house and stack it by the furnace so the family might stay warm. Outside and to the right of our basement door was a stack of wood which my dad and I would build every Fall. I distinctly recall this one dark winter night in which the stars were shining forth with radiant brightness. I was tired from bringing in wood and decided to lay down in the snow behind the stack and stare up at the sky.

It was the first time I ever recall feeling small and insignificant. The stars were so very bright and far away. I pictured myself laying on this huge ball called earth and imagining how it was possible I could exist. Of all the people ever born, why was I here? It dawned on me there was obviously a time when I didn’t exist, so why do I now? Why was I born into this small family in Northern Minnesota? What was the purpose for my existence. Oh, I wish I would have known then what I do now. I can only imagine how my life would have been different.

The first question in our catechism answers my quandaries. Your chief end, your main purpose, your ultimate goal and duty in life is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever. Whether you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God! Our lives are not our own. You were not born so that you might strain towards bringing glory to yourself. You are an image bearer of God who’s purpose is to make Him look great. And in making Him look great, you will be filled with joy. True joy does not come through your own efforts of bringing glory to yourself. It comes when you submit to, and embrace your true and ultimate purpose; to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.

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