Over the past week I've been keeping an eye on the various talks given at the Together for the Gospel Conference. While ironing yesterday I listened to John Piper's address: How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice.
As usual, Piper really messes with your soul in this talk, stripping back all that we hold dear in this life and challenging us to live risk-taking sacrificial lives for Christ. Speaking from various texts in Hebrews, Piper looks at why the early Christians joyfully accepted the plundering of their property as they risked visiting their brothers and sisters in prison. He asks: "What created this lifestyle of risk by visiting other Christians in prison?" He answers: "It was their amazing emotional persuasion that what they were about to inherit in the great reward was so superior in its value that it made the loss of their present possessions as nothing to them... they knew they had an abiding possession - it was profound heavenly mindedness concerning the infinite value of this great reward."
I believe he was exactly right when he went on to challenge those of us who have bought into the argument that to be so heavenly minded means that we are no earthly good. For these early believers, their focus was on the great reward, they were so heavenly minded that their witness was of supreme good on earth. To be radically heavenly minded means we are truly free from this world. We don't care about taking risks for Christ. We gladly sacrifice all that we have for his glory.
There was so much in this talk! I haven't even begun to relay Piper's exposition of the "great reward" - for this you need to take time to listen here!