Overflow • Michael Reeves

How the Joy of the Trinity Inspires Our Mission

July 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2261-3

What does the Trinity have to do with missions? As it turns out . . . everything.

Too often, we put theology in one part of the Christian life and missions in another—and they never meet. A doctrine like the Trinity belongs in the “intellectual” realm, while missions belongs with the “practical” parts of life. Or so we think. But is that really the way it should be?

Michael Reeves wants you to understand that the doctrine of the Trinity has everything to do with the practice of missions. When a Christian sees the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as divine persons who are so full of love that it radiates and overflows into creation—and into the lives of human beings—our perspective on missions is radically changed. No longer is missions an obligation or a drudgery. Instead, realizing the abundance of love that goes forth from God, we who have received and delighted in such love are motivated to go forth as well.

Let the radiance of God’s triune beauty capture your heart. Then God’s great mission won’t be a chore, but will naturally overflow from your joyous delight in Him.


Michael Reeves is President and Professor of Theology at Union in Oxford, UK. He is the author of Delighting in the Trinity and The Unquenchable Flame.


Where do we start when we want to think about the Trinity? Typically, since this doctrine is not well understood by us, and because it describes the infinite God, we immediately try to illustrate it with things from our world. We try to explain the supernatural by reference to the natural. Unfortunately, this is where so many go wrong. Because as soon as people hear the word “Trinity,” all these weird illustrations immediately spring to mind.

You know how it is. In a Bible study group in your church, an unsuspecting new Christian says, “Please, can somebody explain the Trinity to me?”

And then someone goes, “Ah, yes. Well, you see, the infinite God is like a three-leaf clover. There is one leaf, yet three leaflets make it up. Three making one. I find this example so helpful.”

And someone else says, “No, no, no. God is like H2O. There is ice, but then you warm up the Father and He gets a bit more liquid – a different state of matter, a different mode of being – and you warm Him up an bit more, and He is spiritual, you know.”

Or my favorite: “God is like an egg. There is the yolk. There is white. And the shell. Three parts. Yet at the same…wait for it…it’s just one egg.” Ta-da!

Is anyone going to bow down on their faces because of the “eggishness” of God?

And that’s why you think, “Of course not. That’s why I want to leave all the weirdness to the theologians.”

Friend, we Christians believe in the Trinity not because we sense God’s similarity with things from our backyard, or our stove top, or our breakfast table, but because of the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 20:31 is John’s mission statement, the purpose of writing his gospel. He is telling us why he was written what he has. That verse says, “these [words] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John asks you to put your faith in Jesus. It’s just a simple call to faith. But do you see what he has done? A simple call to faith in Jesus is a call to faith in a triune God. How so? Because Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. What does that word mean? The Anointed One, that is, He who is anointed with the Spirit. Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.” The reality of the Holy Spirit is implicit in John’s term, “the Christ.” Then look what else John says: Jesus is the “Son of God.” In other words, God is His Father. All three persons of the Trinity are here! This sort of thing is everywhere in the Bible, once you have the eyes to see it.