A few years ago I picked up John Piper’s book Brothers, We are not Professionals and read it. It was good, but as a student pastor it didn’t grab me. Now, as a lead pastor I thought I would pick it back up and read through it again. It is broken up into 30 short chapters. I’m going to try to read a chapter a day and share some thoughts on that chapter as it pertains to leadership and pastoring (if anything jumps out).
Piper starts by saying, “The aim of this book is to spread a radical, pastoral passion for the supremacy and centrality of the crucified and risen God-Man, Jesus Christ, in every sphere of life and ministry and culture.”
The reality though is that many of the things God calls pastors to be, he calls all Christians to be, so this is not just a call to pastors and leaders, but to all followers of Jesus.
Recently, I’ve been on a journey to really discover all that God has called me to and understand what a pastor is, how that works in daily life and to fulfill to the best of my ability God’s call on my life. That’s where this series of posts is coming from.
God is Love
The problem with the last chapter of Piper’s book is that God working for his glory makes him sound like an ego-maniac. The reality is, God doesn’t just act out of love, God is love. Everything He does is love. Just like if someone says, “Josh is a man. Josh is a husband. Josh is a dad.” It isn’t something I just like to do, that is who I am.
I think that still misses it because no one says “Josh is man.” No one word describes me, my character, my goals or who I am. But one word describes God: Love. God is love.
“His holiness is the absolute uniqueness and infinite value of His glory. His righteousness is His unswerving commitment always to honor and display that glory. And His all-sufficient glory is honored and displayed most by His working for us rather than our working for Him. And this is love.” – John Piper
What often happens is we forget the uniqueness of God. We get so comfortable with God (and this can be a good thing), but in that comfort, we forget who He is. He is the God who created all things, who is over all things, who sent His Son to die in our place to create a way for Him to have a relationship with us.
Piper closes with this great question, “Do you feel most loved by God because He makes much of you, or because He frees you to enjoy making much of Him forever?” God’s character really gets at why we follow Him and what we hope to accomplish in this world and what we think He wants to accomplish. Much of the mix up in Christianity has to do with this question. What is God’s point? God’s will? Are we on board with Him or doing our own thing?