WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
T. PIERCE BROWN
Did you ever see a man cut a ham bone with a chain saw? I did, and must confess that my conclusion was, “It was not really made for that!” It is probably an even more pathetic sight to see a person not functioning as he was made to function. I think one of my beloved teachers, R. C. Bell, might have said, “The strings of his nature are not vibrating in harmony with the infinite.” But how can a man function properly if he does not even know that for which he was made? What on earth are YOU doing here, for heaven’s sake? For what were you made? What is the chief end of man? Acts17:27has an answer, “That they might seek God, that they might feel after Him and find Him.” But why should a man seek after and find God? An answer that is probably most common, easiest to grasp and repeat is, “That is the only way to be saved.” And that is true, but like most of our responses, it is basically self-centered. It relates to getting something for ourselves. It is therefore not the most fundamental and significant answer. The most fundamental answer is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” One is to seek and find God because that is one of the best ways to glorify God.
This principle is so simple that, in my judgment, its vital importance has been minimized or overlooked. As is always true, when our religion gets unbalanced, when we get centered on the wrong things, when we major in minors, when our focus gets blurred, the least thing that can happen is that we lose power or direction. The more important thing that can and does happen is what happens when a tire on a car gets out of balance and causes the whole car to shake and rattle to pieces. We become unbalanced, and our whole lives may fall apart.
My thesis is that not only is the glory of God the chief end for which man was created, it is the chief end for which EVERYTHING was created. It was the aim and purpose behind EVERYTHING God has done for man, or asked man to do for Him. The reason is not always obvious, but it is simple. It can be stated in this way: In the giving of the proper glory to God, everything else that is worthwhile is motivated, included and accomplished. When one recognizes that the primary purpose of his being in the world is to glorify God, and the acts in harmony with that primary purpose, every facet of his life will be harmonious and have meaning and purpose.
If one asks, “Why were the heavens and earth created?” we could have all sorts of answers, but the most fundamental one is, “To declare the glory of God”. If we ask, “Why did Christ come and die?” the usual simplest one is, “To seek and save the lost,” but the most inclusive and comprehensive one is “To glorify God.”
When Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father — ,” notice how incomplete and even perverted it would be if we stopped at “see your good works” and left off the end or purpose of the matter. In John 14:13, Jesus said, “If ye ask anything in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in me.” Even the answer to our prayers is that the Father may be glorified. In John 11:4, Jesus said about Lazarus, “This sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God.”
Even Romans3:23has a deeper meaning if we read it with the understanding that the chief end of man is to glorify God. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” What is the essence of sin? When one sins, he comes short of the glory of God. When one comes short of the glory of God, he sins! Do you really believe that? When Paul said in 1 Cor.10:31, ” — whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God,” did he mean it, or not? If you fail to do what God says, it is a sin?
What does it mean to glorify God, and how may we do it specifically? What will result if and when we do that? First, let us understand that when a person by the wisdom of his words, or by the light of his life causes others to properly praise and magnify God and His attributes, that glorifies Him. To push into prominence His precious promises is to glorify Him. To work for the winning of men and women to the wisdom of His will is to glorify Him. When we strive to seek and save the sinner we glorify God. ANY authorized activity which actually actuates men’s minds to meditate on the mercy of God, to exalt His excellence, to proclaim His power, to lift up His love glorifies God.
The Christian life is not merely the sum of a series of isolated acts of work and service where one offers a part of his life or ability to God and spends the rest on himself and his interests. All you are and have and do is HIS, and should reflect honor and glory on Him. That is about as close to TOTAL COMMITMENT as one can get. I know of no other kind that is authorized. It is NOT a total commitment to a set of human rules, system or method of serving, but a total commitment to the glory of God. Many of us who have been intensely involved in personal evangelism for the past quarter of a century and more, have often taught, or at least implied, that the only way you can glorify God is by winning a soul to Christ. That is not so!
There is no question in my mind that it is one of the best, most important, and most rewarding ways, but I take the position that you can eat or drink or play golf to the glory of God. Does not a housewife need to know that the monotonous rounds of trivial deeds boringly repeated day after day do not need to be mere trivial deeds, but can be to the glory of God? Do you know that if a woman cleans her house to impress her neighbor with the fact that she is a good a housekeeper, it may be for HER glory, not God’s? But if she does it to prepare the house more suitably to function for 1. Fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters that they may be better strengthened for love and service to God and man or 2. A more fitting place to have a friend or neighbor for Bible study, free from distractions of a cluttered world, she thus glorifies God.
My precious wife, Tomijo, has cooked, swept, ironed and made beds for at least 45 years to the glory of God. She may have done it longer than that, for she did not need to be the wife of a preacher to do it. Any Christian wife and mother who, recognizing her God-given privilege to minister properly to the needs of her family, joyously does so, thus glorifies God. We do greatly err if we assume that some things are so purely physical or trivial or personal that they are not connected with this far-reaching, all-encompassing responsibility.
The first and most significant way you can glorify God is to deliberately choose to serve Him, in all areas of life letting Christ be the Lord of your life. The second most significant way is to influence others to do the same. The reason for that is simple, yet profound. The very FACT of man’s creation in the image of God was the crowning glory of all God’s creation, for he had freedom to choose to serve or not serve God. But when he chooses to do God’s will against all the allurements of Satan, self, or sin, there is no greater glory to God!
The results of this awareness and purpose in one’s life are staggering. We have space for only a suggestion. If your primary purpose in life was to get your sins forgiven, when you “got baptized” (as many such persons inelegantly put it) and presumably were forgiven, you will probably come to the services if, as, and when it pleases YOU, for you started on the basis of getting what YOU WANTED. Even if your primary purpose was a step beyond that — to go to heaven when you die — when you have done what you assume will get you there, you will slow down or stop. Why not? But if your primary purpose is to glorify God, there is no stopping place! But life is not a boresome, monotonous round of duties, but a joyous, purposeful, meaningful course of action, whether it be eating, drinking, sleeping, for there is a cohesive, unifying force which gives purpose, meaning and value to all you do. That force is to strive to consciously do whatever you do for the glory of God.