For centuries the training and education of the next generation of children and young adults has been at the heart of the mission of the church. Back in the 1640’s a handful of Scottish and English theologians, pastors, and church leaders collaborated together to find ways to challenge the next generation to be all it was meant to be.
Their painstaking work led to has come to be known as the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) published and put into practice in 1648. The word “catechism” for most Baptists is a foreign word with little meaning, but it simply means “a book written to give the principles of the Christian faith” or “a manual written to give basic instruction in a question and answer format.”
In WSC, the instructors trained young people to learn and to understand their faith by heart by asking them as series of questions and having them memorize their answers. Without doubt one of the most memorable and significant of the questions posed was the opening question, which states:
“What is the chief end of man?”
In other words, why did God create us and for what purpose do we live our lives day in and day out? I must confess I am deeply moved and impressed by their answer. The answer memorized and recited through the centuries is:
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
Wow, what an amazing and insightful glimpse into the mystery and majesty of life as God intended it to be. Without doubt God created each and every one of us for His glory. You can see His majesty and grandeur in the faces of the children playing on the play ground, or in the weathered face and calloused hands of one of our senior saints.
King David in his 86th Psalm exclaimed:
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave… (Psalm 86:11-13 NIV)
David reveals to us that bring glory and honor to the name of the LORD finds its roots in learning to walk with Him, and coming to the realization of the wonder of His grace in our lives.
On a personal note, I am deeply moved and caught off guard by the closing line: “to enjoy Him forever.”
Could it be many of us fail in our desire to glorify God because we have lost the splendor and awe of our “first love?” Enjoying our relationship with God forever casts our vision to a much higher plane than simply trying to be happy and successful.
God calls us to a spirituality that fills our hearts and souls with joy unspeakable. Jesus declared: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11 NIV)
Imagine the joy of Jesus welling up inside of your heart and soul. It’s my prayer that each of us will truly “glorify God” with all our hearts and “enjoy” Him now and forever!