Tonight, we attended a ceremony to see our friend graduate from seminary to be a pastor. The music was great – both the orchestra and the singing. The student testimonies were good too. And we rebelled against the ‘wait until the end to clap’ for your student. We all yelled and hollered his name in celebration. The most thought provoking was the commencement address by John Piper. His message centered around these two sentences:
“Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.
Christians care about all injustice, especially injustice against God.”John Piper
For the first sentence, he talked about suffering and gave several Scripture references for how Christ is our model about caring for those who are suffering or had compassion for them. And then talked about the Parable of the Great Samaritan being an example of loving our neighbor as our self. However, the most important type of suffering is to especially care about eternal suffering. This word, especially, is used to put the most emphasis on the one thing or person. It is more important than the others. Yes, we should have compassion for others but we should care more about their eternal suffering. Each person needs to choose whether they will believe in God and have a personal relationship with Jesus or not. Those who choose to believe will have eternal life. Those who do not will have eternal suffering (Mt. 25:31-46). It isn’t that we shouldn’t care about the suffering in the world. We should care about that but we should care about their eternal suffering more.
For the second sentence, he talked about injustice and how we should care for those who have been a victim of injustice or treated worse than they deserve. Micah 6:8 says, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. We should care about injustice because it is required by God for us to do it. However, we should especially care about the injustice of God. God’s nature is to be just, yet He came to earth and humbled himself to be a man. He cared for all those who were suffering and treated with injustice. Jesus was unjustly accused and crucified for us, so we could have eternal life. Of all those who have been victims of injustice, He received the worst injustice of all and deserves our care and worship for Him.
As you go about caring for all those who are suffering and treated with injustice, especially remember to focus on caring for their eternal suffering – tell them about Jesus. Then be sure to give your worship to our most Holy and Just God.