In The Things of Earth, Joe Rigney attempts to provide Christians with a more robust understanding of what John Piper has called “Christian Hedonism.” As Piper’s pupil, Rigney’s thought process is very much akin to Piper and his understanding of fully enjoying God in all things. Rigney’s book aim to show that enjoying the things of earth is both God-ordained and God-glorifying. He points out that many Christians tend to either uphold a wartime-like behavior thereby casting off all pleasures or end up embracing pleasures so much that the view of the Creator is vastly dimmed. In the first half of the book, Rigney asserts that God, out of the perfect love in the Trinity, has created all things to communicate His love and glory to mankind. Thus by learning to steward and enjoy all the intricacies of life, we draw closer and comprehend more of the vastness and majesty of the Triune God. Utilizing the insights of C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, and Douglas Wilson, Rigney aims to illustrate that God delights in the fact that we treasure His gifts and in turn praise the great Giver of all things. In the second half of the book, Rigney leans heavily on personal reflections, observations, and Scripture to display the practical implications of living a God-ward life in the midst of God’s gifts.
I enjoyed this book very much because Rigney’s style is easy to follow and replete with thought-provoking examples. He does well in not getting bogged down by the many different trajectories that tackling such a broad subject can bring. In confronting a topic that is so integral to everyday Christian living, it is tempting to either dig deep and end up losing the reader or not go deep enough and leave the reader unsatisfied. However, Rigney is careful to maintain a proper balance and never strays from his premise throughout the book. Furthermore, I appreciate Rigney’s humility and pastoral wisdom in not trying to provide detailed instructions on how to use God’s gifts but instead draw the reader’s attention to God as the ultimate Giver. I would recommend this book to Christians in all walks of life as Rigney’s advice on stewarding and enjoying God’s creation is much needed today.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.