The goal of the church…
The goal of prayer…
The goal of preaching…
The goal of worship… is not for us to just grow closer to God.
The goal is to make a difference in everyday life. The goal is the restoration of all things.
This is why Jesus teaches his disciples to pray
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Have you ever heard someone say,
“I feel closest to God at the beach…” or “I experience God most powerfully in the mountains…?”
Maybe you’ve said that.
“I feel peace on the golf course.” “I experience God in the garden.” “I pray best when I’m running.”
I get it.
And, for the most part, I don’t disagree with these statements.
What I disagree with is the idea that the goal is personal spiritual fulfillment. (Just because it’s spiritual doesn’t make it any less selfish).
If personal spiritual fulfillment is the goal, then by all means – go get it wherever you find it : beach, mountaintop, baseball game…
But here’s the thing: according to Jesus Christ, who prayed to the Father, “Not my will but yours be done,” personal spiritual fulfillment is not the goal.
According to Jesus Christ, who said his purpose was not to be served, but to serve, personal spiritual fulfillment is not the goal.
If you and are are seriously following the one who came to “seek and save the lost” – well personal fulfillment will rank pretty low on the priority list.
Here’s my point:
The goal of historic Christian spirituality is not drawing closer to God;
the goal is restoring the broken,
healing the hurting,
seeking and serving and saving the lost,
changing the world.
Of course growing closer to God is very important. You were made for this. But it is a means to a goal.
According to the story: the goal is the restoration of all things.
And we’re invited by God to join with God in achieving this goal.