Monday, October 6, 2008

Notes on A Quest for More | TWO

A Quest for More: Living for something bigger than you by Paul David Tripp (New Growth Press, 2007)

A study guide is also available - A Quest for More: Small Group and Discussion Guide (New Growth Press, 2008)

His grace cuts a hole in your self-built prison and invites you to step into something so huge, so significant that only one word in the Bible can adequately capture it. That word is glory. (18)
Tripp explains the choice of this word:
We were simply made for glory, but not just the shadow glories of the created world. We were made for the one glory that is transcendent—the glory of God. When you grasp this, your life begins to make a difference. (18-19)
Very true; I admit it. I eagerly anticipate the extraordinary, unique and exceptional things of life and am bored with the monotonous and mundane. I also long for purpose in life. I want my work to count for something. Admittedly I waste plenty of time, but I am not satisfied with that. I want to make a difference. I want to grow; I want to excel. But, Tripp meets me here and ties glory to purpose. He argues that everyone lives with purpose but not everyone makes a difference. The key is what my purpose is tied to. Is it self-serving or much more?

Tripp puts it this way:
[I]t is a good thing to have purpose, but if your purpose isn't tied to glory, you have still denied your humanity. (19)
Tripp directs our gaze toward the glory of God and to three other glories that proceed from it.
  1. God glory
    We were made to experience, to be part of, to be consumed by, and to live in pursuit of the only glory that is truly glorious—the glory of God. (19)

    … never shrink the size of [your] glory focus to the narrow glories of [your] own little lives. (20)
  2. Stewardship glory
    The transcendence of human beings is expressed as people reflect God's glory by their rulership and stewardship over the surrounding created world. (20)

    …never shrink the size of [your] care to care for [only yourself]. (20)
  3. Community glory
    The web of ongoing relationships daily calls us out of our insulation and isolation to experience a community glory that selfish, personal focus can never deliver. (21)

    …never shrink the size of [your] community to a functional community of one. (21)
  4. Truth glory
    Never were Adam and Eve built to exist on conclusions drawn from their experiences, or concepts resulting from autonomous interpretations. Every thought was meant to be shaped by the truth glory that he would patiently and progressively impart to them. (21-22)

    …never shrink the size of [your] thought down to the size of [your] thoughts. (22)
Chapter one concludes by refocusing on the purpose of this book. Rather than arguing for a radical reordering of our lives, Tripp is arguing for a reordering of our perspective on and vision of life. Don't settle for the lesser, self-serving glories, but strive for the greater, God-connected glory.
[Y]our humanity only really lives when it is connected to the transcendent glory that can only be found in God. (23)
Questions for Reflection:
  • What do I have to do? What level of glory am I seeking in each of these tasks?
  • What difference will it make in the way that I perform each task I face in connection with the glory of God?
  • Are there tasks that cannot be performed in connection with the glory of God?
  • Am I considering the glory of God in the "small" tasks as well as the "big" tasks?
  • How much of God's creation, other than myself, do I truly care for? Is God really concerned that I care for the environment (dumping, littering, abusing, destroying, etc.)?
  • How large is my community (circle of fellowship, or even interaction)? Do I interact with my neighbors? Do I interact selectively at church?
  • To what do I appeal as the ultimate source of authority? Do I even believe that there is "an ultimate source of authority"?