A summary and discussion questions are below. His central text is:
Psalm 96: 1-4 1 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to Yahweh, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples. 4 For the Lord is great and is highly praised; He is feared above all gods.
Declare His glory among the nations… Notice that the focus is not on the lostness of the world or its poverty, it is God’s glory. Hawthorne points out that motivation for ministry founded primarily on the desire to meet human needs, cannot be sustained. Attention to the glory of God and an abiding trust that He will fulfill his promises, will carry on a missionary’s motivation for ministry more than his focus on human needs or even human lostness.
John Piper’s article adds that “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Worship is ultimate because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, the task of missions ends, but worship abides forever. A desire to see God’s glory doesn’t distract us from missions, it is the fuel for missions.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection:
- How does the change in motivation from human needs to God’s glory and wonderful works transform our view of missions? Must these two be in opposition to one another?
- What are other possible motivations, good and bad, for being involved in missions?
- What are some other possible reasons that missions exists? How do those reasons compare with Piper’s (because worship doesn’t)?
- What are the practical implications of a motivation of declaring God’s glory and a motivation of meeting human needs?