From Handbook to God’s Promises
LIFE HAS A DIVINE PURPOSE
A Joyful Purpose in Life
During the 1640s the English Parliament convened an assembly of 121 learned churchmen in Westminster, England. They did this in an attempt to transform the Church of England into a body that believed and functioned in a manner more consistent with the Word of God and other Reformed churches in Europe. Their lengthy deliberations (1643–1649) produced three of the most famous ecclesiastical documents of the “modern” church era: the Westminster Confession and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
Question number one of the Shorter Catechism is known as the most succinct statement of the purpose of humankind that has ever been penned.
Question: What is the chief end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
That simple statement confounds those who would rather deliberate and expound on the purpose of humankind. The framers of the catechism knew that true human existence is discovered only against the backdrop of God’s existence. The human purpose is given meaning only by the divine purpose. And living out that purpose results in a never-ending joy.
Jesus’ words in Mark no doubt informed and inspired the Westminster assembly as its members sought to answer the question of human purpose. Our Lord had stated that one has to lose his or her life in order to discover ultimate purpose. Further, if we insist on trying to find purpose in ourselves and in our own pursuits, we will ultimately lose our life. What would that accomplish—to frantically “find” one’s life, even to gain the whole world, only to discover in the end how empty that pursuit has been?
Everyone has days when life’s purpose seems cloudy and out of focus. On those days, don’t worry—nothing has changed (Heb. 13:8). Today, take some time to simply reflect on your life. Your purpose remains clear: to glorify God by trusting Him, and to enjoy Him forever—starting today!
The purest of joys is finding your purpose in God alone.