The Dangerous Duty of Delight, chapter 9

What does it mean for Missions?

If you've not yet been able to get a copy of the book (eBook available here for $7), then you can read chapter 9 here. 

There was a time when Missionaries packed their belongings and left for their mission assignment, with the expectation being that they would most likely die (whether sooner or later) on location. The idea that a Missionary might return home on ‘furlough’ every 4 years, or perhaps to attend to some urgent ‘home matters’, seems to be a recent innovation. Regardless of the comparative ‘comforts’ of missionary life in the 21st Century, the sacrifices made by those going on Mission service are still considerable. They might be different in nature, but their personal cost is still great. Family, security, familiarity, and comfort are still left behind.

In chapter 9, Piper considers the sacrifices that are made by those giving themselves to Missionary service. His comments, however, also seem pertinent to anyone giving themselves to Christian ministry of all kinds, whether paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time. Only the degree is different. He writes:

“Missionaries are not heroes who can boast in great sacrifice for God. They are the true Christian Hedonists. They know that the battle cry of Christian Hedonism is missions. They have discovered a hundred times more joy and satisfaction in a life devoted to Christ and the gospel than in a life devoted to frivolous comforts and pleasures and worldly advancements. Suffering, disappointment, loss—yes. But all outweighed by the superior promise of all that God is for them in Jesus. ”

For your consideration:

  • Do you think Christian Hedonism (the desire to find our richest joy in God) could spur you to engage more in Christian ministry– whether missionary or another kind? Could the satisfaction and delight found in God be sufficient to offset the personal costs (time, energy, wages foregone, etc) of committing yourself to some kind of ministry?
  • What might you be prepared to forego in order to discover delight in God?
  • As you ponder these rather searching questions, you might like to consider the following scriptures:

34    Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:34-38

7    But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him,… 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-10

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