” ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God.’ And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.” —Francis Schaeffer
Now you know why you’re here. Be significant.
*The Westminster Shorter Catechism
“When I have a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion—then I go out and paint the stars.” —Vincent Van Gogh
In a turbulent world, a turbulent man had it right. Before he painted, Vincent was a failed preacher who remembered that the heavens still declared the glory of God. In Alex Haley’s novel Roots, Kunte Kinte’s ancestor held his newborn son heavenward, declaring, “Behold, the only thing greater than you!” Carole King wrote in her song Up On a Roof, “At night, the stars, they put on a show for free…”
Turbulence drowns in a sea of peace when we take time to go outside and just look up. The Heavens still declare God’s Glory—He made them, you know, and He is bigger than all of it. Best of all, He loves you.
“He made us lamps for His light, not the salesmen or customers of His fire. He fits no category, exceeds every attribution, defies all description. He is immeasurably more than the object of our study—He’s the subject of the universe itself. “He’s the superlative of everything good you choose to call Him”, Rev. Lockwood proclaimed— yet we still tread the surface of the Sea of Him seeking to stay afloat—waters in which He intended us to drown.”
I’m going under for the third time. No rescue is necessary.
“Many years ago I asked the Lord why He called me to ministry and He answered me very clearly. He said, “This is how you will worship Me, and bring Me glory...” —Pastor Roger Ullman
What is your calling? Not sure? What do you love to do that benefits and blesses others? That’s a much easier question to answer. And that’s your calling, and it’s your spiritual gift—given to you to happily give away to others. It’s how we worship God, and it’s how we glorify Him in this messy world.
Give ’em heaven.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked…is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself—the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we, should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also (except in rare moments of grace) beyond our desiring…” —C.S. Lewis on the Sermon on the Mount
Revel in this, for there is nothing greater—then go love others the same way He loved you.
(It’s okay—He will help.)
Illustration by Justin Sweet © 2006
What will people remember you for? Even more, what have you done with your life that will outlast you? C.H. Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers”, put it like this…
“What pain to find your life-work to be a lot of wood, and hay, and stubble that will blaze furiously, and die out in ashes! You know what I mean: so much time spent in planning frivolous amusements for the people, so much talent expended in teaching that which is not the gospel, so much zeal consumed upon matters that do not concern eternal things, all this will burn. Beloved, do your Master’s work, win souls, preach Christ, expound your Bibles, pray men to be reconciled to God, plead with men to come to Christ. This kind of work will withstand the fire; and when the last great day shall dawn, this will remain to glory and honor!”
May all your deeds be fireproof.
Tough day? Philosopher Simone Weil had many. She also saw God’s grace while dying of tuberculosis…
“The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural cure for suffering, but a supernatural use of it.”
It amazes me that even when God doesn’t ease our sufferings, He can still be glorified through them. That alone may be the greatest comfort of all.
Sometimes Hollywood gets it right. Sometimes. In a quiet scene from “Chariots of Fire”, Scottish missionary Eric Liddell, to assuage his sister’s protests, explained why he would race in the Olympics before returning to his China ministry…
“Jenny, Jenny, you’ve got to understand, I believe that God made me for a purpose—for China. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give it up would be to hold Him in contempt. You’re right—it’s not just fun, Jenny. To win is to honor Him.”
What do you love to do for others and do well? God put it there. Do it for Him; do it to win.
God wants heaven filled, and its radiant population continues to grow. Last Monday it gained Pastor Douglas Mark, known to me as “Dougie”. I knew him all of five hours on earth though it feels like we were lifelong friends. As he prepared for his graduation, he wrote some lyrics in his prayer diary, which were read to him as he stepped into glory…
‘Just think of stepping on shore—And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand—And finding it’s God’s!
Of breathing new air—And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory—And finding it Home!’
Welcome home, Dougie…and Jack…and Roger—faithful shepherds of God’s flock; servants of Jesus.
Well done, guys.
A college professor once told a pompous student, “Young man, I suggest you plunge your finger into a bowl of water and remove it—the hole that remains will show you how significant you really are.” Our world is driven by the fleeting and superficial—people, ideas and things that pave the way to human insignificance, but it was never meant to be that way. Francis Schaeffer put it like this…
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, “and to enjoy Him forever.” The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, “and to enjoy Him forever.” Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.”
Yes, it is.
Have a significant day.
*Quoted from The Westminster Shorter Catechism