Mission and God or Mission and me?
by Chris Forder
It is not a very enticing title I know, but I have been reading a very enticing and engaging book by John Piper, called the Roots of Endurance. The book looks at 3 Godly men in history (John Newton, Charles Simeon and William Wilberforce) and asks the question, how did they endure through so much pain, opposition and suffering? But before he gets to the men, he tries to diagnose our western culture right now, and here is one thing he said.
“There is a mind-set in the prosperous West that we deserve a pain-free, trouble-free existence. When life deals us the opposite, we have a right not only to blame somebody or some system and to feel sorry for ourselves, but also to devote most of our time to coping, so that we have no time or energy left over for serving others.
This mind-set gives a trajectory to life that is almost universal—namely, away from stress and towards comfort and safety and relief. Then within that very natural trajectory some people begin to think of ministry and find ways of serving God inside the boundaries set by the aims of self –protection. Then churches grow up in this mind-set, and it never occurs to anyone in such a community of believers that choosing discomfort, stress and danger might be the right thing— even the normal, biblical thing—to do. … The commitments to safety and comfort is an unquestioned absolute…
Wow! Is that you? I thought Piper captured my own attitudes in this as well as the attitudes of the Western church. As Christians we are called to follow Jesus, but we are also called to share in his sufferings. However, I usually avoid that whenever I can. So, it made me question, am I on my mission or God’s mission? What is my attitude here? What is yours. Are we fighting for comfort or for God’s kingdom? Brothers and sisters, may we surrender our all to God aware of the cost but knowing it is worth it. May we follow God’s mission and take risks, even looking silly for the sake of Christ and have the joy of seeing people in Cairns brought from death to life in Jesus. Please pray with me that God will fill us with boldness for his mission not our comfort.
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