I was in Minneapolis for a pastor's conference in January, and one of my favorite preachers and authors, John Piper, was set to preach. I was very excited. His influence through his writing and preaching has impacted me ever since coming to Christ, and I was going to have the opportunity to hear him preach live.
He came to the podium for the first main session, began to speak, and for the next 45 minutes, I heard a very forgettable sermon. In fact, it was so forgettable, I don't remember the text he preached from, nor do I remember the main point. I don't even remember sub-points.
I was surprised. As a growing preacher, the key things I always make sure to do is go back to the text, have a clear main point, have a clear flow of thought, clear sub-points, etc. And here was a preaching veteran, and I couldn't remember any of them.
Now, the point of this isn't to tear John Piper down. In fact, the most memorable moment of the conference came from that very talk. It was John Piper's joy itself. He spoke about God and His Glory, His Gospel, His Godness, His Holiness, and Piper was awestruck. He loved God. He treasured God. So much so that I could hear it in how his voice changed, how his eyes watered, and how his face brightened when he spoke about Him.
He wasn't here solely to tell pastors how to do their job. He wanted them to be refreshed by the most beautiful and woundrous entity, the one who is everlasting hope and joy.
I shouldn't have been surprised. His book “Desiring God” is devoted to the idea that the chief end of man is to love God and ENJOY Him forever. But it was a sight to see Piper genuinely reflecting his true treasure. It made me wonder, how often do I stop at theology and doctrine without allowing it to impact my soul?
How often do I read my bible, pray, or do evangelism and discipleship because I treasure Christ?
How often is my goal to get people believing the right things, without pointing them to the pleasure of knowing the right person?
The great thing about Piper is that he loves good doctrine. He loves the bible. He loves the mission that God has given us. But that's all driven by his passion to love Christ more than all other things. It drives his study, his preaching, his prayer life.
To be clear, his passion is not driven solely be emotion. I believe it's driven by priority. The priority of spending time with God, of learning about God, communing with God, giving things up for God, because He is worth it.
Where is our treasure? Is it in God? Or in what we can get from Him? Do we treasure being right? Do we treasure possessions? Or do we treasure our creator, savior, and redeemer?
Start with what you truly believe. Do you believe God is your greatest source of joy? Are you cultivating that joy with reading God's Word and prayer? Are you serving Him by sharing the Gospel with others and making disciples? Are you giving faithfully and cheerfully to God's Mission?
Treasure Christ. Treasure Him above all else. Treasure Him with your mind. Treasure Him with your heart. Treasure Him with your actions.
He is our great joy, our greatest reward. Are you missing out?