The world is full of good things: a thunderstorm beating at the windowpanes when you’re reading, curled up in a blanket; ice cold lemonade under a tall oak tree; and the look that passes between a man and his wife. But many times, God’s gifts can seem to compete with God himself for our attention and affections. Too often, we worry that enjoying God’s gifts without explicitly worshipping him takes away from our love for God. But in The Things of Earth Joe Rigney challenges us to dive headfirst into enjoying God’s world .
Christians are often burdened by guilt when the things of earth seem to interfere with our relationship with God. The things of earth, says the old hymn, will grow strangely dim. And yet, in the light of God, Rigney argues that the things of earth will grow strangely bright. When we truly enjoy God’s gifts, we do him honor, even when we don’t explicitly thank him for the gift. We show our thanks by using the gift: by enjoying a beautiful sunset, or through tickle fights on the living room floor. Rightly enjoying God’s creation is what we were made to do, and doing so teaches us about the one who made it all.
Things of Earth reminds us that “…every good gift comes from the Father’s hand, that God’s blessings should drive us to worship and generosity, and that a passion for God’s glory is as wide as the world.” More than just a vehicle for worship, right enjoyment of the creation is unashamed and vigorous, and will lead us to worship ultimately. Joe Rigney does a great job of balancing out the over-spirituality that’s all too common in Christian circles these days: there’s a beautiful world out there; let’s dive in and explore it!
When I picked up the Things of Earth, I had already been turning over these ideas in my head. Much like Death by Living, every page I read in this book felt like a silent affirmation of vague ideas that had been floating around in my brain. Rigney does an excellent job of presenting all of these ideas in finished form, and his thoughts pushed mine forward significantly. His writing is robust and doctrinal, backed from the bible — the very first chapter is on the nature of God, which really sets the tone for the rest of the book that follows.
I highly recommend The Things of Earth: Joe Rigney goes a long way to restore balance to a question that’s often over-spiritualized, and reminds us that there’s a beautiful world out there waiting to be explored. It’s a challenge to live fully, as we were created to do, to “treasure God by enjoying his gifts.”
Published on 28 April, 2015. Last updated on