I have always appreciated the ministry of John Piper despite disagreeing with some points he is most passionate about. Hearing that he is taking a leave from ministry to concentrate on his marriage will certainly be the talk of pastor-blogging worlds and hopefully saints will not use the issue to score points against him.
My approach to the whole subject is to learn from Piper’s admitted mistakes so that I don’t make them.
1. Jesus Christ, not my ministry, is my life. I am frightened at how easy it is to blur the lines between the two. I nearly shipwrecked my faith and health while in college because I confused Jesus with doing stuff for Jesus. Not cool.
2. Should I marry, my number one ministry should be my husband and children. No I don’t feel like such a stance violates my personhood. But if Jesus Christ is truly my Lord, He’s not expecting me to gain the world and break my covenant with my husband and children. Male church leaders also need to heed on this one. Your wife is the woman God gave you, not the local fellowship of believers you pastor.
3. Do not get caught up in “leader hype.” Every leader, no matter how godly we are or strive to be, is perfect. Piper’s transparency about how his marriage was being impacted by ministry activities is something that should be applauded. He could have done what some high profile pastors have done the last several years and claim that God was showing him that he needed a new wife who would excuse his issues. If nothing else, Piper’s example should lead all of us to ask hard questions about why we do what we do and how what we do impacts our covenant relationships.