That is not just a question we need to ask of John Paton but we need to ask of ourselves. As Baker writes while Paton may have had compassion for the souls of the people he was a missionary to that is not enough to sustain the missionary zeal of Paton or for that matter of any Christian. This is not to say we are not to have compassion, we are, but as Baker shares, if we are truthful we will all find ourselves in times where we simply do not feel the compassion we ought to have and what do we do in those time?
Baker points to Psalm 67 ( Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. Psalm 67:3 ) and relates that our zeal for the spreading of the gospel should be grounded in a desire to see God worshipped as He deserves to be worshipped. We should have a desire to spread the Gospel that is driven not for the people but for God. Again this is not to say we are not to care for people, we are, but never above our devotion to God.
I think that for me, and probably for many, the desire to share the Gospel wanes often as we get so inundated by things that we simply do not have the compassion and care others souls we should have. But one thing that should never wane is our desire to see God worshipped as He desires and deserves to be worshipped. As Baker also shares, when we see others worship anything but the one true, triune, God we should burn with a desire to see that changed. Yes the person that repents of worshipping other than the true God will receive benefit from the change the main goal should be to see God worshipped.
This fits well with one of my favorite books by John Piper – The God is the Gospel. This book speaks so much about how we have turned the Gospel into a message about us instead of about God. Yes we are included in the Gospel message but we are not the focus, God is. We should share in God’s passion for His glory to be known and that all nations would worship Him (Psalm 2, 67, 96, 100 - as Baker shares). So, while our compassion and desires for others to know the glory of a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ may undulate we should never allow for our passion for His Glory to be known by all to do so. We have to move from a man center theology to what it is supposed to be, a God centered one.
I pray this article would bless you as it did me. Maybe as something new or, as it did for me, as a reminder of where my focus is to be.