(Updated November 15, 2005)
In the grand scheme of things, what is so important about producing and spreading resources like books and CDs? The world is full of people who are starving, ravaged by war, diseased, abused, poor, drug-addicted, and suicidal. In the face of such desperate and urgent need, aren't books and CDs simply luxury items?
It is hard to overstate the importance of ministering compassion to the suffering. Jesus commands it, and James insists it is evidence of saving faith (James 1:27).
However, food and medicine have limits. They keep people alive, but they don't give them LIFE. LIFE is found in the gospel of Jesus. And the gospel sets people radically free - so free that they are willing to lose their earthly lives because in Jesus they find LIFE (Matthew. 10:39). This liberating gospel is preserved in a book: the Bible.
People embrace the gospel and understand the Bible primarily through preaching and through other books. So if we want people to have LIFE, we will want them to hear God-centered, Bible-saturated preaching and read God-centered, Bible-saturated books. Which is why Bethlehem Baptist Church created Desiring God.
One of the most joyful and freeing truths of the Bible is God's passion for his glory. God's glory is the theme of the Bible and is at the heart of redemptive history. God's pursuit of his glory ensures the deepest, longest-lasting happiness of everyone who puts his or her faith in him. How so? The Bible clearly states that saving faith is more than mental assent to biblical truth. It's also loving the God who spoke this truth with all of our hearts and minds. It's treasuring the gospel as the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:46), worth losing everything else to obtain. And the more satisfied we are in God, the greater God is shown to be to everyone else.
That's why at DG we are blood-earnest about helping people be as happy as possible in God. Because those who are not satisfied in God are not free, but slaves to the futility of seeking their happiness in this world. But those who are satisfied in God are free indeed. They are free to feed the hungry, care for the diseased, comfort the abused, minister to the poor, treat the addicted, speak hope to the despairing and serve on the most difficult mission fields. They are free to lose their lives because they know where to find LIFE.
So for the sake of God's glory and the happiness and freedom of the saints, we are pouring our lives into producing and distributing resources that help them grasp the crucial truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. For in its absence, every aspect of kingdom work eventually suffers.