July 12, 2006

God's Glory: the Fuel of Missions

Psalm 67

May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

—  Psalm 67:3

What motivates us to do missions? At least for those who go beyond their country's borders, there's often a streak of adventure in their personality. Eating strange foods, searching in rainforests for downed military aircraft, sleeping under the stars in remote villages--these can bring deep satisfaction to the adventurer in us. Couple that with seeing real people's lives touched by the good news of Jesus, and you have a powerful formula--at least for some. But even for the compassionate explorer, that's not enough fuel to keep one going.

In his book about missions, Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper says, "Worship is the white-hot enjoyment of the glory of God," and he argues that only such worship can provide us the fuel for missions. "You cannot commend what you don't cherish," says Piper. Christians "will never call out, 'Let the nations be glad!'" if they "cannot say from the heart, 'I rejoice in the Lord!'" As Piper puts it, "There is little passion for the kingdom where there is little passion for the King."

But missions will happen. Once we realize that God does not need our mission service to fulfill his plans for the world but rather that God is the Sovereign Lord to be fully enjoyed, and once we see that God's reign means joy for the peoples of the world, how can we keep silent?

O Lord, you are exalted above all. Teach us to praise you and seek your glory so that we will naturally overflow with your love for the people around us. For Jesus' sake, Amen.

About the author — Tim Holwerda

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