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The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts Paperback – December 31, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (December 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433544733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433544736
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If there is an evangelical Christian alive today who has thought and written more biblically, more deeply, more creatively, or more practically about the proper enjoyment of creation and culture, I don’t know who it is . . . This book has been very helpful to me. I mean that personally. I think I will be a better father and husband and friend and leader because of it.”
John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“We are probably familiar with the proverb about the overly pious fellow, the one who is so heavenly minded he is no earthly good. And we have seen the opposite so many times that we don’t even need a proverb for it—the carnal thinker who is so earthly minded he is no heavenly good. And no earthly good either, as it turns out. The hardest thing to achieve on this subject is balance, but it is a difficult feat that Rigney has accomplished. Buy this book. Make it one of your earthly possessions. Read it to find out what that is supposed to mean.”
Douglas Wilson, Senior Fellow of Theology, New St. Andrews College; Pastor, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho

“Reading this will be a sweet moment of profound liberation for many. With wisdom and verve, Rigney shows how we can worship our creator through the enjoyment of his creation. This is going to make a lot of Christians happier in Christ—and more attractively Christlike.”
Michael Reeves, Director of Union and Senior Lecturer, Wales Evangelical School of Theology; author, Delighting in the TrinityThe Unquenchable Flame and Rejoicing in Christ

“This book makes me want to watch the Olympics while eating a pumpkin crunch cake, rejoicing in the God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. But part of me is a little wary of the indulgent pecan crunchiness and astonishing athletic feats. What if my heart gets lost in these things? If you’re familiar with that hesitation, this book is for you. We were made to take in all the fullness of the intergalactic glory of the triune God. This book is a trustworthy guide to help your gaze follow along the scattered beams up to the sun.”
Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Redeemer Church of Dubai; mother of four; author, Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full   

“I am always amazed at how God reveals his character to his children. This book has radically changed the way I view the Giver of every good and perfect gift. What’s more, it has helped me to really enjoy him through the many blessings he has lavished on me.”
Shane Everett, singer/songwriter, Shane and Shane

“It is not easy to understand how I can love God with all my heart, but also love the world he has made. God’s Word encourages us to love the creation (Psalm 19), but also to love not the world (1 John 2:15–17). Rigney is really helpful to those wrestling with this kind of question, and he helps us with a lively and engaging style. This book clarifies and builds upon John Piper’s Christian Hedonism. I heartily recommend it.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

"If there is an evangelical Christian alive today who has thought and written more biblically, more deeply, more creatively, or more practically about the proper enjoyment of creation and culture, I don’t know who it is . . . This book has been very helpful to me. I mean that personally. I think I will be a better father and husband and friend and leader because of it.”
John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“We are probably familiar with the proverb about the overly pious fellow, the one who is so heavenly minded he is no earthly good. And we have seen the opposite so many times that we don’t even need a proverb for it—the carnal thinker who is so earthly minded he is no heavenly good. And no earthly good either, as it turns out. The hardest thing to achieve on this subject is balance, but it is a difficult feat that Rigney has accomplished. Buy this book. Make it one of your earthly possessions. Read it to find out what that is supposed to mean.”
Douglas Wilson, Senior Fellow of Theology, New St. Andrews College; Pastor, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho

“Reading this will be a sweet moment of profound liberation for many. With wisdom and verve, Rigney shows how we can worship our creator through the enjoyment of his creation. This is going to make a lot of Christians happier in Christ—and more attractively Christlike.”
Michael Reeves, Director of Union and Senior Lecturer, Wales Evangelical School of Theology; author, Delighting in the Trinity, The Unquenchable Flame and Rejoicing in Christ

“This book makes me want to watch the Olympics while eating a pumpkin crunch cake, rejoicing in the God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. But part of me is a little wary of the indulgent pecan crunchiness and astonishing athletic feats. What if my heart gets lost in these things? If you’re familiar with that hesitation, this book is for you. We were made to take in all the fullness of the intergalactic glory of the triune God. This book is a trustworthy guide to help your gaze follow along the scattered beams up to the sun.”
Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Redeemer Church of Dubai; mother of four; author, Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full  

“I am always amazed at how God reveals his character to his children. This book has radically changed the way I view the Giver of every good and perfect gift. What’s more, it has helped me to really enjoy him through the many blessings he has lavished on me.”
Shane Everett, singer/songwriter, Shane and Shane

“It is not easy to understand how I can love God with all my heart, but also love the world he has made. God’s Word encourages us to love the creation (Psalm 19), but also to love not the world (1 John 2:15–17). Rigney is really helpful to those wrestling with this kind of question, and he helps us with a lively and engaging style. This book clarifies and builds upon John Piper’s Christian Hedonism. I heartily recommend it.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

Customer Reviews

If you want to think about how to live life in a way that both glorifies God and enjoys His gifts, buy this book.
DanielS
If we fall off the tightrope on one side, we realize that we are, in the words of Tim Keller, “making good things into ultimate things” by idolizing God’s gifts.
Michele Morin
If it isn’t already obvious, I highly recommend this book and believe that everyone can greatly benefit from at least one reading, if not more.
erictsatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Joel Aubrey on December 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
The vision of the Christian life expounded in Joe Rigney's The Things of Earth* is the long awaited climax of a train of thinking that I was first exposed to in a Seminary class with Joe on the Theology of Jonathan Edwards. The second round of interaction I had with Joe's thesis can be found in a class he gave on the topic at Bethlehem Baptist Church as well as a chapel message and sermon (both of which can be found by searching for "Joe Rigney" on Bethlehem's website).

Many believers (myself included) have had their world's rocked by John Piper's claim that: "God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him." This claim can be found in all of Piper's dozens of books and is expounded most comprehensively in "Desiring God" where the term "Christian Hedonism" is unpacked and defended at length. Like me, Joe Rigney considers himself a Christian Hedonist. He has devoted his entire life to being as happy as he can possibly be, in God. Like Piper, Joe believes with all his heart that the two "ends" of pursuing God's Glory and our own joy need not be pitted against each-other. They are one.

Yet Piper's thesis has left many (myself included) unsure of what to do with creation. The call to be happy in God stikes a deep cord in our souls, but leaves us unsure of how to relate to the stuff of earth. Should we feel guilty when we enjoy a delicious meal and are not constantly feeling like we are "enjoying God" as we eat? Do we have to consciously think about "enjoying God" while we make love to our spouses? For Piper, (who actually writes the forward to Joe's book), the gifts have often been treated as a medium on the way to God while prayer, singing and Bible reading are more "direct" approaches to enjoying God.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jake McAtee on December 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to read this before Christmas this year and it created in me a deep appreciation and a richness to family, friends, and meals. If creation is from a God who is free and independent than all of it is a gift to his creatures. Joe harmonizes texts throughout the scriptures to demonstrate a right posture for us to have in light of that truth. I can say that my love for Texas, Chipotle, sunsets, and the One who gives them, grew insurmountably. This is a great book and makes a great gift!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ronald thao on February 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can not help, but live according to this book and thank God for this gift. I have been suffering for awhile about struggling with gifts of all kinds whether it be spiritual gifts or earthly gifts and my worrying of idolatry. I've struggled with being a pharisee, and living in this sense of false holiness.
Truly truly, can I enjoy the things of God and speak well of them without being in fear of becoming an idolater. This is the true prosperity Gospel, not Gifts over the Giver, but Gifts that are bridges to the supreme Giver, who is the greatest gift of all. Praise God indeed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Faur Iosua on February 16, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
From the moment I had on my Kindle Joe Rigney’s book The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts, it was very hard to me to let it go. Few things I knew about this book or about the author, except that he is a professor at Piper’s Institute and he is a Christian Hedonist. It was enough for me. But what I discovered in it was amazing. As a Christian Hedonist having questions and struggling to understand more and more the supremacy of God in all things, this book was very helpful.
Rigney’s aim is to help people answer to questions like: “How can we enjoy all that God richly provides without setting our affections on the things of earth?... what exactly are we to do with the things of earth?” His exhortation is not to choose one of two extremes and land there but to go deep in the study of the Bible and relating that with “what it means to live the faithful Christian (Hedonist) life.”
He organized the book in 12 chapters. First 5 chapters are the theological ground for this book, talking about the importance of the Trinity in understanding what is the glory of God, what God relates to his creation and what’s the place of the Gospel in this frame is. The other 7 chapters develop practical subjects that present to you the danger of a wrong understanding of what it means to live radically for God.
In the first chapters he is setting the paradigm for the whole book: the Trinitarian perspective, and some theological foundations for honoring the giver by enjoying his gifts. So in the first chapter he is talking about the triune God of glory in relation to him (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). In the second chapter, God in relation to his creation (author-story-characters) and in the third chapter, he is presenting the creation (earthly things) as the communication of God’s glory.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am grateful to have received a free copy of this book from Crossway Publishers and Net Galley in exchange for a review.

Have you ever heard of the term "Christian Hedonism?" Well, that is the concept for this book. John Piper formed this concept and has developed it into a strong Biblical theme for the Christian's Life. Joe Rigney has taken the concept and written an entire book on it to bring us to a point of discussion within the Christian religious world. The thought process is this, God created and saw that it was good, so why do we not embrace the things God created and enjoy them 100%?

Maybe you are like me and the term "Christian Hedonism" turns you off. You have strong feelings that this is something evil or to be avoided. It just sounds wrong. But John Piper assures us that, "the very heart of Christian Hedonism, textually, is found in Philippians 1:19-23, where Christ is most magnified in our dying, because we treasure Christ so supremely that we call dying gain--because we get more of Christ." He then goes on to say, "The weakness of this emphasis is that little space is devoted to magnifying Christ in the right enjoyment of creation and culture."

So, Joe Rigney takes Piper's teaching and gives us work that reminds us that Creation is Good. God is the Creator and what He Created He intended for good and for our enjoyment. So, why is it that we don't enjoy? Why is it that we instead tend to make idols of material things instead of enjoy them how God intended for us to enjoy them?

I don't agree with everything that Rigney has written, but he sure has given me pause to stop and look at the Things of Earth in a different way and in a way that will make me enjoy God's creation even more.
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More About the Author

Joe Rigney is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College and Seminary. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons. He's convinced that he's descended from King Lune of Archenland on his father's side.

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The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts
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