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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Missions and Worship

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist because worship doesn't." -John Piper in Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions

It's easy to forget the big picture when we spend most of our lives painting the details. I wonder how differently the Sistine Chapel would have looked had Michelangelo never climbed down from his scaffolding and looked at the ceiling as a whole. His art were masterpieces because each intricate detail worked together to create a beautiful and complete bigger picture. In much the same way, it is easy for us Christians to get so caught up in what role we play individually, that we neglect to see how what we do fits into the bigger picture. Without a proper understanding of the greater goal and mission of God, our gifts will become disproportionately important and end up adversely hurting the overall functioning of the church. Michelangelo's hand of God reaching out to man would get bigger than his head, or one of the cherubs would be twice the size of the one next to it, and thus ruin the beautiful proportions of his paintings. Playing our part and using the gifts God gave us is wonderful and right, but doing so outside of the context of God's greater purposes is dangerous.

So if that is true, then we must ask the question: What is the bigger picture of God's mission in the world? Piper puts it well and succinctly. The ultimate goal of the church is that all nations, every created thing, will worship God. When I say worship I don't mean the singing of songs in a church service or anything like that, although there will most likely be singing. What I mean by worship is the overwhelming reaction to the Lordship and majesty of God in our individual lives and over all the world. It is that moment when every knee bows and tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord, and those who have been called to be children of God will live in perfect joy forever, dancing and singing and laughing and loving the way were created to in the beginning. Whatever our role is in the church, whether it is missionary, evangelist, preacher, encourager, funder, worship leader, small group leader, food line cooker, any thing that we do, let us remember that we do all of those things so that one day every person on the globe might worship and delight in the glory of God!

Lord Jesus, we praise you for all that you've done and all that you're doing to bring about the glory of your name and the delight of your people in your glory!

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