The Chief End of Simon

6 01 2009

The Westminster Catechism (both shorter and longer) was written in the 1640’s and completed in 1647 by a bunch of English and Scottish protestants. It was produced to educate church members on doctrine and belief.

The Shorter catechism, intended to be simpler to understand, begins thus:


Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

Allow me to be a little self-centred for a moment and reword: the chief end of Simon is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. My chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and the means at my disposal is the life God has given me. Everything I do in this life is a means to that end.

So… how do I do that?

How do I glorify God in my work? How will being an actuary show God’s glory?
How do I glorify God in my relationships? How do I reflect God’s glory to my family and friends?
How do I glorify God in my whole life?

I can think of plenty of ways in which my life explicitly does not glorify God. Those things I know I can work on. But it’s the parts of life where I potentially could be, would be, should be glorifying God but I am currently not that I feel unsure about.

My life ought to be guided by decisions in favour of glorifying God. If His glory is my chief end, then that should be the course I am set on. Of course, I will rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit which has God’s glory in mind. But my conscious decisions should be made in light of the fact that the chief end of Simon is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It sounds a bit like a New Year’s resolution. Really, it’s just something I began thinking about when I couldn’t sleep.