John Owen: No comparison

“Receive the Lord Jesus in His comeliness and eminency. Let believers exercise their hearts abundantly unto this thing. This is choice communion with the Son, Jesus Christ. Let us receive Him in all His excellencies, as he bestows Himself upon us; be frequent in thoughts of faith, comparing Him with other beloveds, sin, world, legal righteousness; and preferring Him before them, counting them all loss and dung in comparison of Him. And let our souls be persuaded of His sincerity and willingness in giving Himself, in all that He is, as Mediator unto us, to be ours; and let our hearts give up themselves unto Him.”
John Owen (1616-1683) English theologian and administrator at Oxford, in Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, excerpt from chapter 3.

For Owen, any giving on our part represents our response to the realization that what we have in Christ Jesus is beyond all comparison.

I wonder if the lack of generosity in our day is rooted in the misguided notion that we have tried to make generosity a response to our efforts (preaching, letters, etc.) rather than a response to communion with Christ. Owen would likely say: exhort people to communion with Christ (alongside whom is no comparison), and they will give up themselves and the resources they possess.

The Apostle Paul said something along these lines …

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. Philippians 3:7-9

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