Whatever you try to share with others returns, and whatever you try to keep for yourself rots. “He who loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s, will save it” (Mark 8:35). That’s a commendation of Christmas—and Calvary. “What shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’ No. For this purpose I have come” (John 12:27).
Only faith can live this way. Sight says, Save! Take! Keep! Faith says, Lose! Give! Share! That’s because Faith counts on God’s action. But Sight counts on human odds. Being a Christian means living by faith. “I am crucified with Christ … the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
Therefore being a Christian means living to give. When a good thing comes, we think, How can I get someone else in on this? And that’s the way it is with churches too. If God gives a good thing, we think, how can we extend it to others?
In 1985 that’s what drove me to write Desiring God. This truth is so good I did the best I could to let it out, lest it rot. We established CHEF (Christian Hedonism Expansion Fund)—a reserve account under the governance of the deacons as an official ministry of the church. All the royalties from Desiring God go straight to this ministry.
God has blessed the effort. I get regular letters and phone calls from across the country testifying to the life-giving power of these truths. One woman called from South Carolina last week and said it had revolutionized her Sunday School class and was starting to do the same to the whole church.
The first edition of 15,000 has sold out and a second (paperback) edition with minor corrections is now available. We will have them soon at Bethlehem and will sell them for about $6.00 (suggested retail $9.95).
One of the dreams for how to use the royalties for spreading the vision is fast becoming a reality. Just last week we sent over 1300 brochures to pastors across the country inviting them to the first Bethlehem Conference for Pastors to be held here on April 14-17, 1988. J.I. Packer and Ralph Winter and John Armstrong will be the featured speakers as we focus on the Source, Nature and Path of Saving Faith. We pray that this will be a time for great encouragement and revival for pastors and their key lay leaders.
The Conference will be distinctively Reformed in its content and goal. “Reformed” means rooted in the Reformation tradition that makes the sovereignty of God’s grace and the greatness of God’s glory the source and goal of everything. It’s the root and spring of all we do at Bethlehem!
I want you to feel a part of these efforts to extend good things to others. Without you I could never have written Desiring God. Use it for Christmas gifts. Remember, the money goes right into spreading the vision. Then pray for the Conference—that as pastors ponder it, God will bring those who can profit most.
Committed to letting nothing rot,