“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Not long after Becky died I had a conversation with a friend where we talked about our purpose and God’s character. My friend’s understanding is that the primary purpose of our lives is to give God glory. Since God created us and this is the reason He created us, my friend sees God as a needy being with some kind of personality disorder. The conversation stuck with me. I knew then and I know now that I don’t see God this way, although I do agree that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” So I’ve been pondering what it means to give God glory.
When I consider God’s glory I’m amazed at His person and character. God is good. His is a perfect character with no flaw or weakness. He is perfect in love, perfect in action, perfect in deed. His desire is for relationship even as His being is one of relationship. He exists in eternal relationship – the great Three-In-One, but even with that He longs for relationship with us. There is nothing in God unworthy of our praise, He is altogether worthy. Because His heart is perfect and pure and because He longs to be in relationship with us, He must be made known – His glory must be revealed.
From the human perspective, entering into relationship with God is the only way to satisfy the longings of our hearts. We cannot relate to someone that we do not know and of whom we’ve not heard. As those who know God give Him glory, relating the stories of their life with God to others and living out a life whose actions give glory to God, they make Him knowable to those who don’t yet know Him. These stories and actions that glorify God also manifest His desirability showing others that He is good – a God to be known and loved.
Because of our humanity we balk at giving glory to someone who demands glory as his or her right. We have no respect for people who make that kind of demand. In fact the one who demands our praise is the one we feel least likely to deserve that praise. But we are also often free and spontaneous givers of praise for those things that are truly praiseworthy. A gorgeous sunset, a valiant hero, a moving song, a charming baby, a loving spouse – these things will elicit words of praise without reservation. God is perfectly praiseworthy. Giving Him glory fulfills a deep need in us to recognize His beauty and perfection. Giving Him glory is the natural and right response to Him, revealing Him so that others might also know Him.
With Becky’s death life is shrouded in pain for me and others who deeply miss her and long to see her again. Part of that pain is the unfairness we see in a life cut so short –a death out of sequence in time. I think part of that pain is also our soul’s cry that life is eternal, that nothing has really been lost, so the truth is that we should still be able to talk to Becky. There is another truth here that exists beyond all pain and loss. God is good. God is good all the time. God is altogether good and trustworthy and beautiful and worthy of our praise. Becky is experiencing this goodness in a way that is much more than the difference between reading a book about Hawaii and actually sitting on your lanai in Kauai drinking in the smells, sights, and sounds of the tropical sea. She is giving God glory and enjoying Him forever.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36