This quote from Tim Keller’s new book Every Good Endeavor sums up well why in the past year or so, the vision and promise of the church as the future perfect Bride of Christ has constantly strengthened me to not lose heart in ministry. It explains why lyrics like “Dear dying Lamb Thy precious blood shall never lose it’s power til all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more!” have been so moving and Scripture like “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” and 2 Corinthians chapters 1-5 have been so precious to me. The “tree” and “leaf” that Tim Keller writes about has to do with a story he summed up earlier, but the quote should make sense nonetheless:
Whatever your work, you need to know this: There really is a tree. Whatever you are seeking in your work- the city of justice and peace, the world of brilliance and beauty, the story, the order, the healing- it is there. There is a God, there is a future healed world that he will bring about, and your work is showing it (in part) to others. Your work will only be partially successful, on your best days, in bringing that world about. But inevitably the whole tree that you seek- the beauty, harmony, justice, comfort, joy, and community- will come to fruition. If you know all this, you won’t be despondent because you can get only a leaf or two out of this life. You will work with satisfaction and joy. You will not be puffed up by success or devastated by setbacks. (p. 30)
And here’s another one that has to do with what I’ve been learning as a stay-at-home mom (I have been writing a blog post on this in my mind for a while now…):
Everyone imagines accomplishing things, and everyone finds him- or herself largely incapable of producing them. Everyone wants to be successful rather than forgotten, and everyone wants to make a difference in life. But that is beyond the control of any of us. If this life is all there is, then everything will eventually burn up in the death of the sun…Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference…Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, purposed in response to God’s calling, can matter forever. (p. 29)
Looking forward to getting into this book more!
P.S. If you buy Every Good Endeavor right now from wtsbooks.com (link above), you get 70% off your first copy! $8.09! Whoohoo! I’m reading my copy right now.