Sometimes I choose a book because I want to learn more about a specific topic. And sometimes I choose a book because it addresses something I see lacking in my life, something for which I need a good boot. “Let the Nations Be Glad” by John Piper is one of the latter. I recognize a tremendous lacking in my own life regarding my personal role in the propagation of the Gospel, and know I need to address it. And the terrible thing is that I know I should not need to know the “why” in order to obey. So another reason I am reading this book is to try to learn the “how” part of being involved in missions, both personal and global.
I haven’t finished the book yet, so I can’t provide any sort of full review. But I can mention that I was captured after reading the first paragraph:
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.
Now lest that induce cardiac arrest in the any of the crowd that insists our singular purpose on earth is to be soul-winners (as off-base as that may be), Piper continues with this: “Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory.”
Within the first few pages Piper explains that “the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.” And that leads to a realization that “God’s ultimate goal is to uphold and display the glory of his name.” God’s upholding of his own name is central and foundational to understanding the need for missions.
This is obviously a book that cannot be read without deeply affecting the reader. I know already that it is one I should read annually. I have many more quotes to share, but will save them for later posts.