I just finished reading David Brooks’s latest book, The Second Mountain. In it, he records the impact that John Stott had upon him. Years ago, my friend Michael Cromartie (like Stott, now in heaven) told me that he had suggested to Brooks that he should read Stott. Clearly, he did, and then met him. You can read his reaction in the book.
In one section, Brooks addresses the question of finding meaning, writing as follows:
“I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’” Alasdair MacIntyre wrote, “if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’” If there are no overarching stories, then life is meaningless. Life does not feel meaningless. These stories provide, in their simple yet endlessly complex ways, a living script. They provide the horizon of meaning in which we live our lives.
As often happens, I find that my “extracurricular reading” ties in with what we’re studying at Parkside. We’re working our way through 1 Samuel and learning how events that took place in 1050 BC are profoundly relevant to our twenty-first-century lives. This is, of course, a testimony to the divine authorship of the Bible. In the letter of Romans, Paul writes, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (15:4 NIV).
So, the birth of Samuel and his call to guide the people by “the word of the LORD,” and then the monarch in Saul and David, point us to Jesus, the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords. We are caused to marvel at God’s plan from all eternity to put together a people that are His very own and then to bow in wonder at such grace that we should be called in Christ to enjoy the utterly undeserved privilege of being included in that number.
This is “the greatest story ever told,” and it is this story that we want to share with as many as possible in as many ways as possible. I hope you have some sense of how crucial your part is in this process. Thank you for staying the course in prayer and giving. We have only the slightest inkling of what God is choosing to do with each of us, a collection of old clay pots in which He has chosen to place His treasure (2 Cor. 4:7).
We have begun to see a steady flow of visitors to Parkside from various parts of the nation and beyond. A number of them tell us of how helpful they have found our Sunday morning worship service live stream to be. Do tell your neighbors and friends of this opportunity. Our hope is that it will cause viewers to seek out a local church where the Gospel is front and center so that they can then be involved, as God intends, in the regular fellowship of God’s people.
By the time this reaches you, I will have enjoyed the privilege of preaching at a conference in my birthplace, Glasgow. More of that next time.
On behalf of us all and with our sincere thanks for your partnership in the Gospel,