I saw this today in John Piper’s “Desiring God” blog, and I absolutely love it.
What do you think? Should you suggest this for your church’s next promotional campaign?
Perhaps you should. What would happen, do you suppose?
What would happen if, instead of just a catchy poster, this were the reality of life in our society? What if faithfulness to Christ really did put people at grave risk?
You certainly couldn’t attract those who are looking for their best life now. Why would they want to emulate the martyrs of old who missed out on God’s blessings of wealth and ease?
You’d never pack your pews with those who come just for the music and the socialization. Those things can be had more safely elsewhere.
Gone would be the ones who go to church to make business contacts, or who go simply out of habit.
But don’t misunderstand. The people who stay are not going to be the cream of the crop, humanly speaking (1 Co. 1:26-29). They won’t be able to boast about their faithfulness. They’re no better in their flesh than those who leave. So why would they stay?
I’ll tell you why. It’s not because of who they are. It’s because of Who they’ve found.
The ones who stay and the ones who leave will both be looking out for their highest happiness. It’s just that some believe that the highest happiness is found in human comforts, and some believe it’s found in The God of All Comfort (2 Co. 1:3).
Some believe that money is God, and Jesus is good as long as He gives us money. Others believe that Jesus is God, and forsake the love of money.
Some pursue godliness as a means of gain (1 Tim. 6:5), and some believe that godliness itself is gain (1 Tim. 6:6).
And once again, the difference between the two is not a matter for boasting. What right does anyone have to boast about what God has shown them (1 Co. 4:7), especially when He says that He hides things from the wise and reveals them to infants (Matt. 11:25), and chooses foolish nothings to put the wise to shame (1 Co. 1:27)? God does according to His good pleasure, and if He has allowed His light to shine in our hearts (2 Co. 4:6), how can we boast in that (Rom. 3:27)? We “foolish nothings” did nothing to deserve it.
So does God have a wonderful plan for His people’s lives? Of course He does! And one of those wonderful plans might be the chance to show His worth to a watching world by choosing Him above your own ease, your own comfort, or even your own life’s blood.
Shame on those who proclaim that the worth of Christ is based on His ability to line your path with rose petals and your coffers with gold! Those who truly honor Him are the ones who consider comfort and wealth to be “dung” compared to the excellence of knowing Him (The word translated “rubbish” in Php. 3:8 is really the word for “dung”)!
Do you know this Jesus, the one who is better than any worldly wealth? The one who is our eternal life (John 17:3)? If not, confess to Him that you have loved the things of this world more than Him. Ask Him to shine His light in your heart and show you His infinite worth. Ask Him to forgive your sin and turn your heart into one that loves Him supremely. Acknowledge Him as your King, to whom you owe unquestioning and unconditional loyalty.
A mere handful of such lovers of God will please Him more than teeming thousands of self-lovers who mouth words of praise on Sunday mornings.
May His glorious worth be preached at any cost, yes, at great cost, even if it does almost empty the pews. God would rather have a small army that draws its strength from Him, than a large one that relies on its own power (Jdg. 7:2-7).
You and I are nobodies, and we could not earn the privilege of suffering for Him. But it’s not about us, it’s about Him. He is the Almighty, Holy, Eternally Glorious One. He is the wonderful plan for our lives, and He is worth it all!