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John Piper on Charles Spurgeon and his mind-boggling productivity for the gospel:

What shall we make of such a man?

Neither a god nor a goal.

He should not be worshiped or envied.

He is too small for the one and too big for the other.

If we worship such men, we are idolaters.

If we envy them, we are fools.

Mountains are not meant to be envied. They are meant to be marveled at for the sake of their Maker. They are mountains of God. . . .

We are to benefit from them without craving to be like them. When we learn this, we can relax and enjoy them. . . .

Let us be, by the grace of God, all that we can be for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 15:10).

In our smallness, let’s not become smaller by envy, but rather larger by humble admiration and gratitude for the gifts of others.

—John Piper, “Mountains Are Not Meant to Envy: Awed Thoughts on Charles Spurgeon,” in A Godward Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1997), pp. 264-265.

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6 thoughts on “How to Relax and Enjoy Your Heroes in the Faith”

  1. Wesley says:

    This is money J Pipes. everything was created to terminate in worship of the One Creator alone, never the creation. Glad to read this today.
    – the Ox.

  2. Todd Wilhelm says:

    I wonder how Piper squares his thoughts about Spurgeon (which I agree with) with the book titled “For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper”?

    “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”
    Psalm 115:1

  3. Well said and something we must remind ourselves. Especially today where man is elevated up to the heights of God!

  4. Mark says:

    JT, thanks for the post. I think we can agree that we have seen JP live out the words: “In our smallness, let’s not become smaller by envy, but rather larger by humble admiration and gratitude for the gifts of others.” And while there may be a thin line between honor and worship, Scripture still commands the former (Phil. 2:29, 1 Thess. 5:12-13, 1 Tim. 5:17). I thank God for men like Piper. Our Lord continues to demonstrate His greatness and faithfulness to lead His church in every generation in the way of truth through these frail and fallible servants.

  5. MarieP says:

    Todd, I visited Bethlehem Baptist recently, and I was very much struck by Piper’s humility! There was no aggrandizing introduction (no intro at all, actually), and he was addressed simply as “Pastor John.” The book you mention was a surprise to him, as I recall. Would you take issue with a book entitled “Essays in honor of Charles Spurgeon?” I think those who compiled the book had in mind the precepts set forth in the verses Mark mentioned!

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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