No one tells you when you’re signing up for nursery duty or applying to be a missionary or answering a call to pastoral ministry that it might be spiritually dangerous.
But as Peter Greer writes in his new book The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, Christian service, whether paid or volunteer, ought to come with a warning label. (Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reading copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.)
While charity can harm others, doing good can also wreak havoc on us. … Without evaluating our motives, it is possible to love our service more than we love our Savior.
Greer is the CEO of HOPE International, a nonprofit that focuses on microfinance as a means to end physical and spiritual poverty. His book is full of personal experiences of doing good for the wrong reasons with the wrong motive and paints an honest picture of what can happen in a person’s life, family and ministry when service takes precedence over everything else.
The book is funny and a little bit self-deprecating. Greer gives readers no reason to think he’s got it all together or is a saint when it comes to serving for the right reasons. Even as the CEO of a nonprofit, he’s still a human. He includes stories of others who have experienced personal failure while their ministry was thriving. It’s a fascinating and quick read, though by no means is it an “easy” read.
The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good is a warning as well as an encouragement to check your ego, your motives, and your personal relationships often in the midst of whatever job or ministry God calls you to. I wish this book had been published five years ago, before my husband went to seminary. And I’d recommend it to anyone who serves in the local church, as a longtime volunteer or full-time paid staff.
Greer’s message is that important.
Practical, applicable, relevant, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good is not to be missed. And each chapter concludes with a link to bonus material on Greer’s Web site in the form of photos and videos. I look forward to viewing these “extras.”
For more about Greer, visit his Website www.peterkgreer.com.