(For part 1 of this series, a chapter from The Reason We Speak, click here)
In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, this life defining question is asked, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is simple yet profound. It says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Those of us who are invited by God into a ministry of speaking bring Him great glory by using our gifts and fulfilling our calling. We glorify Him when we spend time crafting words that help others experience and love God in all His awesomeness. It’s too easy to fall short, though, by forgetting the second part of our chief duty. We are called not only to work for Him but to enjoy Him.
John Piper takes this thought a step further in his philosophy of Christian hedonism. He summarizes the idea this way, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Christians aren’t to pursue pleasure as its own end, but we are to pursue with all our might the pleasure of knowing God. It is the highest pleasure that we can know. When our need for pleasure is satisfied by Him, only then we are able to bring God the glory He deserves.
I’m very task-driven, and I’m a compulsive list maker. My ministry list can get really, really long. It includes everything from preparation, to ordering resources, to painting my nails for a weekend retreat. I’m realizing, though, unless spending intimate time with God tops and permeates my list, my ability to bring Him glory quickly dwindles. Time with God strengthens my ability to engage my audience, communicate in a winsome way and love the women to whom I speak. Neglecting intimate times with God exposes the absolute inability I have to do any of those things in my own strength. Jesus Himself said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9, 11 NIV) If I want to communicate His all-surpassing joy and encompassing love to others (and I do!), then my greatest need is to enjoy God.