Man’s Great End – A Prayer for the End of Another Semester
Another semester is wrapping up here in a few weeks for me and probably many of you who read this blog. For some of you it may be the end of your college or seminary careers that are peering around the corner. For others you may be finishing off a specific season of life or a big project at work that has been looming over you for months. With the various ways that many of us will be “wrapping up” and “ending” various aspects of our lives over the next several weeks I think it is prudent to offer a reminder to what our great “end” actually is the knowledge and glory of God. This prayer from the Valley of Vision says it well:
“Lord of all being, there is one thing that deserves my greatest care, that calls forth my ardent desires, that is that I may answer the great end for which I am made – to glorify thee who hast given me my being, and to do all the good I can for my fellow men; Verily, life is not worth having if it be not improved for this noble purpose!
Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind! Most men seem to live for themselves, without much or any regard for thy glory, or for the good of others; They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue the riches, honours, pleasures of this life, as if they supposed that wealth and greatness could make their immortal souls happy;
But alas, what false delusive dreams are these! And how miserable ere long will those be that sleep in them, for all our happiness consists in loving thee, and being holy as thou are holy.
O may I never fall into the tempers and vanities, the sensuality and folly of the present world! It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness; Time is a moment, a vapor, and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles, fleeting blasts of wind, from which nothing satisfactory can be derived.
Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee, and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter, together with all sinful pleasures or profits. Help me to know continually that there can be no true happiness, no fulfilling of thy purpose for me, apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love.”