Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Is the Gospel at the Center of Your Aspirations?

I've been thinking about a quote from an excellent sermon I heard a couple of weeks ago. The sermon referenced a provocative quote from D.A. Carson's book "Basics for Believers" -

"As Christians, we are called to put the advance of the gospel at the very center of our aspirations. What are your aspirations? To make money? To get married? To travel? To see your grandchildren grow up? To find a new job? To retire early? None of these is inadmissible. None is to be despised. The question is whether these aspirations become so devouring that the Christian's central aspiration is squeezed to the periphery or choked out of existence entirely."

This may sound like run of the mill, religious-speak to you but I think what makes this quote particularly provocative is that it is alien to the way most Christians think about their lives. When we think about career choices, how many of us take the advance of the gospel into account? How about the pursuit of the American dream - two kids, white picket fence et al, - where does the advance of gospel fit into that pursuit? It's entirely possible that for most of us, this central aspiration has been pushed to the periphery of our lives...still in view but marginal.

For various reasons, I've been thinking about this quote lately and asking myself a few questions -

Is D.A. Carson correct in his assertion? Should the Christian's central aspiration really be the advance of the gospel?

If so, what does it look like for someone in the marketplace to put that into practice? For instance, should a Christian nurse make the advance of the gospel, the primary objective of her job? How about someone wishing to start a business? Should the primary aim of the business be profit or gospel proclamation?

What about our lesser ambitions or aspirations? If they are not inadmissible as Dr. Carson says, then how do we evaluate them in light of our primary aspiration to advance the gospel?

When we truly grapple with what Dr. Carson is saying, I think there are serious, weighty implications to the way we live and make decisions. What do you think? How would placing the advance of the gospel at the center of your aspirations change the way you work or the choices you make?


Ted M. Gossard said...

Really good thought here, ESI. I like that quote from D.A. Carson. And I think if I really understand it, I agree.

We should have a passion for the gospel, and this has to work its way out in how we live, everywhere. In some ways, it's a little challenging in that I work amidst Christians, and only here and there am in contact with those who may not be- at work. Of course what we do there does have ramifications for the advance of the gospel.

I think I need to be thinking more and more in terms of this in all I do. Why do I want to do this and that? Is it for some American, or worldly reason, or because I seek to follow Christ, and am in it for him and for the gospel? Of course it should be the latter. That is why I need to have a better front yard this year, little as it is, and surrounded by concrete as it is, and as tight as our budget is. I want to look at everything in view of that. In fact, I've been thinking a little on that, or close to it, lately, and your post sharpened me on that, at least as to focus.

Thanks again!

Tony Rossell said...

ESI, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also."

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for a very thoughtful response to my post. I think my main point was to draw attention to the fact that we don't typically tend to think in terms of how the advance of the gospel should figure into our life choices. We like our Christian faith nicely packaged and contained to Sunday mornings.

In terms of how it looks in each persons life, I suspect there are no simple,one size fits all answer but rather something that each of us should consider in light of scripture and prayer.

Every Square Inch said...


I agree completely! Yet, it's strange how we often don't stop to consider the gospel when we think of our jobs, where we live, or our future plans/ambitions.

Why is that? Perhaps you're saying it's because we don't treasure the gospel?

Tony Rossell said...

How does the song go?
"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love."


heather a. goodman said...

Tony--you quoted one of my top five favorite hymns. In fact, it wavers between positions one and two. ;)
ESI--oh, man. I want to tell you both "Preach it!" and "Can you sit down now?" because I agree whole-heartedly...
Don't I?

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I can tell it's something you feel passionate about.

How do you actually put this into practice in your life? How do you make the gospel the center of your aspirations?