Loving People Means Pointing Them to the All-Satisfying God

“Now back to what it means to be loved. The idea has been almost totally distorted. Love has to do with showing a dying soul the life-giving beauty of the glory of God, especially his grace. Yes … we show God’s glory in a hundred practical ways that include care about food and clothes and shelter and health. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).

Every good work should be a revelation of the glory of God. What makes the good deed an act of love is not the raw act, but the passion and the sacrifice to make God himself known as glorious. Not to aim to show God is not to love, because God is what we need most deeply. And to have all else without him is to perish in the end. The Bible says that you can give away all that you have and deliver your body to be burned and have not love (1 Corinthians 13:3). If you don’t point people to God for everlasting joy, you don’t love. You waste your life.”

– John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, pgs. 33-34.

Mr. Piper is on to something.

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4 thoughts on “Loving People Means Pointing Them to the All-Satisfying God

  1. Terry says:

    That book is revolutionary…and I don’t use that term lightly. It changed the way I saw life.

  2. WesWoodell says:

    Thanks for the comment Terry – there’s a lot of good in it, that’s for sure.

  3. Daniel W says:

    I haven’t read much John Piper. All I know is that he and N.T. Wright are engaged in a debate about justification, and I’m a big N.T. Wright fan.

    I do like what he says here, but I think we should care for people in material ways and do good works for more than evangelistic purposes. We should certainly share Jesus with people, because God’s plan through the Messiah is the truth for all people. But we should also take care of people just because God loves them, because God has decided they are worth something. Bringing people into the kingdom of God is just another part of loving them. I think that this dichotomy between evangelism and social justice is silly and misleading. The two go hand in hand. Perhaps I am saying the same thing as Piper in different words. What I’m basically getting at is that we certainly glorify God and make him known through our good works, but I don’t think that the sole purpose of good works is to glorify God. The good works flow from the love God has for all people that we also share. God’s glory is shown forth in what he does for us, but he acted on our behalf because he loves us. And we should act on the behalf of others, whether it be providing for their material needs or leading them to Christ, because God loves them.

    (By the way, Adam Farnsworth directed me to your blog. I’m in his campus ministry at FSU.)

    • WesWoodell says:

      Hi Daniel – thanks for the comment. This verse sums up my feelings as to the purpose of a disciple’s life:

        2 Corinthians 5:14-20

      14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
      15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
      16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
      17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
      18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
      19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
      20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
      (NIV)

      I love the way Paul puts it here.

      Please keep Adam straight in Tallahassee. Someone needs too!

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