From the previous post:
“…use our discretionary time not by maximizing our fleeting comforts but by devising ways to be a blessing to the lost and suffering.”
Man I love this line!
Read it a few times over and I know you will, too.
Our comforts are so temporary! Yet when they are just beyond our reach, we tend to deceive ourself and think that we’re “suffering” without them.
Sometimes we read lines like this and then respond in error by practicing asceticism. We become legalistic and fear pleasure… and even assign sinful motives to others who are having fun. Jealousy, perhaps? Rejoice with those who rejoice… Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Notice Piper uses the word “maximize” here. He’s not referring to “Enough is as good as a feast”. He’s talking about the attitude of “I’m going to eat until I puke and there better be more for when I’m up to eating again.” Discontentment.
When expectations are not met, we cannot think of anything else. In a sense, they become idols we worship. We’re even willing to sacrifice others upon the alters of these idols to get what we want. “I know ____ is having a hard time, but she’ll have to wait or deal with it by herself. There’s no way I’m calling her back right now. I have an appointment to __________, and if I don’t take time for ME, I’m going to miss my chance!” (How do we know we’ll never have the chance again? We rationalize and make excuses to justify the sacrifice to our comfort-idol.)
But, comforts are blessings. We need to appreciate them in that context — never as things we deserve.
Thinking of comforts as blessings – as a gift for which we can thank the Lord – vs. as a deserved reward for our being a good person – helps to curb selfish, sinful indulgence.
How quick we are to forget that only the blood of Christ can eternally satisfy the discomfort/suffering in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.’
Hebrews 9:14-15 How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Rather than spending time “suffering” because we’re not clicking “Book My Flight!” on an Expedia getaway package so grandiose its unaffordable – and trying to think of what items to eBay in order to pay for the trip – Piper reminds us to redeem our time by thinking about the true suffering (emotional, physical, spiritual) of others and ways “to be a blessing [a COMFORT!] to the lost and suffering” because of Christ.
Eternal comfort vs. fleeting comfort.
When we stop and say, “My temporary happiness is not as important as taking the time to share Christ with _____ by helping her to _____”, we are engaging in comfort that has an eternal value.
Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Sharing this treasure with others is true evangelism.
Word study : Verses on “Comfort.”