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Today's Expositor's Quote of the Week is another from John Piper, Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis:

Gladness and gravity should be woven together in the life and preaching of a pastor in such a way as to sober the careless soul and sweeten the burdens of the saints. I say "sweeten" because it connotes some of the poignancy of the gladness I have in mind, and sets it off from the glib and petty attempts to stir up lightheartedness in a congregation. Love for the people does not take precious realities lightly (hence the call for gravity), and love for people does not load people with the burden of obedience without providing the strength of joy to help them carry it (hence the call for the gladness).

Gladness in preaching is an act of love. It continually amazes people when I say that if a pastor is to truly love his people he must diligently pursue his happiness in the ministry of the Word. People have been taught consistently that to be a loving person you must abandon the pursuit of your own joy. It'a all right to get it as an unexpected and unpursued result of love (as if that were psychologically possible), but it is not all right to pursue your happiness.

I assert the opposite: If you are indifferent to your joy in ministry you are indifferent to an essential element of love. And if you try to abandon your joy in the ministry of the Word you strive against God and your people.

John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Baker, 1990), 52-53.

[May you overflow with joy in the ministry of the Word this week, and preach with a sober, passionate gravity on Sunday -- Coty]


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