In his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren popularised the slogan, “It’s not about you.” He was making the point that our lives are to be lived to the glory of God. Therefore, to make life all about ourselves is to gravely miss the point and to miss our purpose. After all, if the Lord Jesus did not come to be served but rather to serve, why would I think that I am to be the centre of attention?
Once a person realises this, they are ripe for the gospel. Confronted by the holiness of God, we repent of the autonomous pursuit of our self-centred agenda, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Life becomes all about serving him. This is what purposeful living is all about. That is the point of Warren’s book—a purposeful point to which we should pay close attention. Indeed, the Bible tells us so.
But once we are converted, once our purpose aligns with following the Lord Jesus Christ, we also discover that, in a remarkable way, life does become all about us; but “us” in a very corporate way. Let me explain.
In his book, Pray Big, Alistair Begg expounds Paul’s prayer for the local church as revealed in Ephesians 1:15–23. Towards the end of that prayer we read the words, “And he [God the Father] put all things under his [Jesus] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (v. 22). Begg highlights the glorious observation that Jesus Christ, who is enthroned as Sovereign Lord, rules everything in the universe for the benefit of his people, the church. Begg writes, “As[Jesus] governs all things, he works in all things for the good of those who love him, his church.” He concludes, quoting theologian Herman Hoeksema, “The relationship between Christ’s power over all things and his sovereignty over the church is such that he employs the former to the preservation of the latter.” In other words, everything that happens in the world is under the control of Jesus and he is orchestrating everything that happens for the benefit of his church. Therefore, whatever else we can say about what the Lord is up to in the various happenings in the world, including calamities and catastrophes, those who belong to Christ’s church can conclude, “It’s all about us.” Jesus is ruling all events for the welfare of his people, for his glory. It’s all about us because it’s all about him. This is a strange but biblical truth. It is a truth to seriously contemplate at all times, and perhaps particularly in these times.
This truth empowers us to see that the coronavirus is all about what Jesus Christ is doing in and for his church. The coronavirus has been placed “under his feet” for Jesus to use “as head over … the church.” As our head, Jesus will build his body—the church—and apparently the coronavirus is one of his means to do so. This means that even the alarming statistics are all about what Jesus Christ is doing for his church. It means that the economic turmoil is all about what Jesus Christ is doing for his church. It means that the current restrictions on the corporate gathering of the church is a means Jesus is using to love and to care for and to grow his church. It means that even the heartache our members have, and some will yet experience, is ultimately about benefiting us who will, in turn, bless the Lord who does all things well.
Yesterday Anton’s exposition equipped us to see that by the power of the gospel life is no longer all about us but about Christ and his kingdom. Worry therefore is futile, unnecessary, and a waste of time, for, as Jesus exhorted, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). In other words, the biblical paradox holds true: It’s not about you, but it is about us.
Marvelling with you,