Sunday, June 15, 2008

John Piper on risk

"If we walk away from risk to keep ourselves safe and solvent, we will waste our lives.

"If Christ is an all-satisfying treasure and promises to provide all our needs, even through famine and nakedness, then to live as though we had all the same values of the world would betray him." (p.107)

"my sense is that in the prosperous West, the danger in the church is not that there are too many overly zealous people who care too deeply about the lost, and invest hazardously in the cause of the Gospel, and ruin their lives with excessive mercy to the poor. For every careless saint who burns himself out and breaks up his family with misdirected zeal, I venture, there are a thousand who coast with the world, treating Jesus like a helpful add-on, but not as an all-satisfying, all-authoritative King in the cause of love." (p.118)

"One of the marks of this peacetime mind-set is what I call an avoidance ethic. In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to insure the joy of triumph? In peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possibly, avoid sin?" (p.118)

"Since we all live in a world created by television, it is almost impossible to see what has happened to us. The only hope is to read what people were like in previous centuries. Biographies are a great antidote to cultural myopia and chronological snobbery. We have become almost incapable of handling any great truth reverently and deeply. Magnificent things, especially the glory of God, as David Wells says, rest with a kind of “weightlessness” even on the church." (p.121)

"At these moments, when the trifling fog of life clears and I see what I am really on earth to do, I groan over the petty pursuits that waste so many lives—and so much of mine. Just think of the magnitude of sports—a whole section of the daily newspaper. But there is no section on God. Think of the endless resources for making your home and garden more comfortable and impressive. Think of how many tens of thousands of dollars you can spend to buy more car than you need. Think of the time and energy and conversation that go into entertainment and leisure and what we call “fun stuff.” And add to that now the computer that artificially recreates the very games that are already so distant from reality; it is like a multi-layered dreamworld of insignificance expanding into nothingness." (p.125)

Quotes from John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

2 comments:

étrangère said...

I've found Piper's stuff on risk good and challenging, since Dave Bish sent me one of his sermons on risk when I was in Brussels. I didn't realise it was part of a series, but it's the first one on Risk and the Cause of God.

Skippy said...

Hi Rosemary,
thanks for the comment & the link.
Someone described me recently as a 'risk-averse chap' - an accurate description, I would say, so it's good for me to hear & be challenged by this stuff