Gospel Aspiration

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“Put the advance of the gospel at the centre of your aspirations.  Our own comfort, our bruised feelings, our reputations, the misunderstandings of our motives – all of these are insignificant in comparison with the advance and splendour of the gospel.  As Christians we are called upon to put the advance of the gospel at the very centre of our aspirations.What are your aspirations?  To make money?  To get married?  To travel?  To see your grandchildren grow up?  To find a new job?  To retire early?

None of these is inadmissible; none is to be despised.  The question is whether these aspirations become so devouring that the Christian’s central aspiration is squeezed to the periphery, or choked out of existence entirely.

I recall a Christian some years ago who always gave the same response when he was asked the numbing vocation question, ‘What do you do?’  Invariably he replied, ‘I’m a Christian.’  ‘Yes, but I didn’t ask about your religion; I asked what you do.’  

‘I’m a Christian.’  ‘Do you mean that you are in vocational ministry?’  ‘No, I’m not in vocational ministry.  But I’m a Christian, full-time.’  ‘But what do you do vocationally?’  ‘Oh.  Vocationally.  Well, I’m a Christian full-time, but I pack boxes to pay expenses.’

At one level, of course, his standard response was slightly perverse.  Moreover, in God’s universe all morally good and useful work is honourable and not to be dismissed as of marginal importance.  Whether it’s packing boxes or writing computer programs or baking a pie or changing a baby’s nappy, we are to offer our work up to God.  We are his, and all we say and do, including our work, must be offered up for his glory and his people’s good.”

Don Carson, Basics for Believers, p.25

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