I came home from the Sovereign Grace Pastors conference with a fresh surge of divine jealousy.
Let me explain what I mean by the term. I want the Lord to receive glory and many echoes of thanksgiving from our church as we invest in gospel mission around the world.
This is not a selfish jealousy—a base craving to be recognized or known or have a famous church in this world. It's a jealousy for the Lord to receive glory and to have a church that pursues eternal glory through earthly investment in gospel mission. It's the glory of God, shared eternally with those who gladly sacrifice for the sake of his name.
It’s the jealousy God has for us—that we would trade what we cannot keep, to gain what we cannot lose, as our brother Jim Elliot would say.
I came home with that jealousy for our church.
Having heard about gospel mission going forth through the work of Sovereign Grace pastors and friends around the world—of a Pastors College in Europe, and a church established in Asia, a move of the gospel in Mexico, and a gathering of pastors in England—not to mention good reports of the gospel unifying people in the midst of racial tension in the United states and the perpetual training and equipping of new pastors that happens as part of our family culture—I am feeling a divine jealousy for our church to continue to claim a part of this mission!
Our church is not large. What we can give would not impress any worldly standards—but we want to give with faith, with joy, with...divine jealousy. Of course, God doesn't need us—but we're jealous to be a sacrificial part of what He is doing. We want our church to be a part of the care and training of pastors in Europe, to serve a new church plant outside of Boston, to support mission to the unreached peoples in the world, to provide ongoing equipping and care for pastors here in the United States.
We may not be covering a lot of the expenses, but we want to place our name on some small portion of this mission. Perhaps it's one leg of one plane trip to support a church planter across the world. Perhaps it's a meal of hospitality one of our leaders provides for an aspiring church planter. Perhaps it's a gift of money to a new church plant as they get started. Perhaps it's sending a pastor across the world to speak at an international gathering of pastors.
The Lord knows we are only one small piece in his very magnificent puzzle of gospel victory. But the holy jealousy, the divine ambition to lay down our lives and our comfort in order to place our part fills us with joy and humbles us with privilege.
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:11-15, ESV)
Jon Payne is the senior pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Round Rock, TX. Jon also serves Sovereign Grace Churches on the Executive Committee.
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