On John Piper’s sabbatical

John Piper

John Piper, preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, announced his upcoming sabbatical from all public commitments and explains why:

“Noël [John’s wife] and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion. In other words, the precious garden of my home needs tending. I want to say to Noël that she is precious to me in a way that, at this point in our 41-year pilgrimage, can be said best by stepping back for a season from virtually all public commitments.”


As a naïve  husband on the opposite end of the age and ministry spectrum, I need to take note. John is humble in saying that even 40 years into their marriage, there is work to be done, and there are needs to be tended to. That is something I can only glean from older, wiser followers of Christ.

Who are we to haughtily assume we won’t be drawn to similar challenges in a later season of our marriage?

Who am I to brazenly throw around platitudes like “our honeymoon doesn’t have to end”, as if by being just over a month into our marriage we’re at an elevated level of sageness? It is foolishness for me to think so.

Who am I to be proud of having a marriage I don’t deserve?

For those who care for us, please hold us to account on this issue. Don’t let us get carried away in our married pride.

That’s right, knock us off our prideful perches and tell us how to be more humble, more Christ-exalting.

And most of all, pray for us, that we would continue to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt 6:33).

– William