By Luke Olson
A mentor of mine gave this book to me. It’s a relatively small book by an old puritan who died at age 27 and published only one other book. Scougal actually wrote the material not as a book, but as a letter to a friend of his. His aim was to explain the Christian life, plainly. It’s a very basic, profound summary of what it means to be a Christian, written in true puritan style (for better or worse!). 🙂
I remember sitting in my dorm room in college, weeping over how awesome God must be, and how awful my sin. Scougal said if we could but fix our eyes on Him and His beauty, “Though they (the chastisements of God) be not joyous but grievous, would hereby lose their sting, the rod as well as the staff would comfort him – he would snatch a kiss from the hand that was smiting him, and gather sweetness from that severity – nay, he would rejoice that though God did not the will of such a worthless and foolish creature as himself, yet did His own will, and accomplished His own designs, which are infinitely more holy and wise.”
I came late to the “Christian Hedonist” dance.
When I became a Christian I loved the idea that God loved me so much He would never foist upon me His own Will, and instead left me to my own “free will”. So when I read Desiring God as a young, zealous, “just ask Jesus into your heart” Christian, it destroyed my man-centered view of salvation and replaced it with a God-centered view of all things. It was in Desiring God that I learned to say, like so many saints before me “All things for the glory of God”.
Desiring God also taught me to the life-changing truth that “God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him.” So many times in my life I have come back to that sentence as a litmus test for both my prospering, and my suffering. No matter what circumstances or season I find myself in, the key question I must ask myself is this: “Is God my supreme treasure? Is He the all-satisfying, thirst-quenching, peace-giving, Glorious Object of my affections? Or is it some other thing?”
By John Gibson Paton, James Paton, Arthur Tappan Pierson (D.D.)
The Autobiography of John G. Paton stands out to me as a MUST READ for anyone who thinks they may have a call on their life to be a missionary.
There is this moving scene in the book where John Paton and his father are walking down the road to their final parting – where John was going off to Seminary and later the mission field. He and his father walked in an almost unbroken silence, while his father whispered prayers to heaven. They parted in tears and when John got out of sight he wept.
His father, William, had been converted at 17 and had wanted so badly to go into ministry but had after a time discovered that God, in His providence, had another lot marked out for William – he was a womens’ stocking maker. William prayed that if God would allow it, he would consecrate his sons for the ministry – all three of them DID indeed enter the ministry.
I’m impressed with the life of faith that William lived, and that out of that his sons went on to honor Jesus as well. William’s life was not sexy, but he was a fruit bearer! I remember thinking at the time when I read this book that I would be thrilled if I could say the same of my own life at the end, whatever I spent my life actually “doing”.
The book paints a picture of missions that modern missions books do not. It de-romanticises cross-cultural missions and shows how much work goes into reaching an unreached people group with the gospel. I strongly recommend this book! prepare to cry, a lot!