"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." —John 12:27-28 (NAS)
“What are you going to do with that degree?”
When I was a senior in college, I remember my father asking me that very question. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure myself. At that point I had been through four majors and in school for five years. Though I would have a college degree, it was in religious studies, which narrowed my choices tremendously. I could either go into the ministry, go to seminary, go into a secular graduate program or keep working as a graphic designer, the job that paid for my education.
I had felt a calling to ministry as far back as my late teens, but I had no idea what to do about it. I didn’t have the patience or foresight to be a pastor, the musical talent to be a minister of music, and I was not even close to cool enough to be a youth pastor. The truth was I didn’t have a sense of purpose in regard to my spiritual life. I had the talents and abilities that God had given me, but no idea what to do with them.
The question of the hour was, “What now?”
From 1643 to 1649, at the request of parliament, a group of Scottish Presbyterians and English Puritans met to come to agreement on a doctrinal statement for both countries. The Protestants of both lands had allied themselves against the Anglican crown and its many Roman Catholic practices. From their study and interpretation came the Westminster Divines, or catechism as we call it now. The first statement written was, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
This is the first statement of the catechism and in many ways the most important. In this, we find our purpose for living: (1) to glorify God and (2) to enjoy Him forever. Our reason for being is tied to causing the dignity and worth of God to become manifest and acknowledged before all men and to take pleasure in His presence within us as we live our lives. In all we do to both find and live out our purpose, we should strive to be bringing honor to the name and person of God while being joyous at His being a part of us.
So what is your purpose for being?
Each of us is gifted in some way or another to help the greater body of Christ. Paul said it this way in Romans 12:4-8:“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (NAS).
Each of us is a hand or a foot or an eye, and none is greater than any other. We all work in conjunction with one another to glorify God as a body in our actions as individuals. In time, I came to realize that during the past decade that I have worked as a graphic artist, God had been using others to help hone my creative skills. During the time I was in school, I learned the theology that would be painted on canvases to come. I was always teaching, always being taught and when following the leadership of God’s will, I was glorifying Him by living out the purpose He has for me.
Each of us has a skill and ability that will define our purpose. The question is, “Are you using it to ‘glorify God and enjoy Him forever’?”