Are You Really Passionate
The word “passion” is defined in a variety of ways, depending on what dictionary you consult or which person you ask. There is, of course, the romantic sense of the term as it relates to physical attraction. And I’m sure glad God built that beautiful capacity into us when he created man and woman. But that’s not my focus here.
People are passionate about lots of different kinds of things. Sports and competition. Work and career. Art and music. Health and fitness. Service and volunteerism. Church and worship. Politics and power. Recreation and hobbies. Cars and trucks. You name it, someone out there is all eaten up with it!
Our personal passion motivates us and drives us toward excellence. It can give our life a greater sense of meaning and provide much-needed direction.
Recently, Mr. David Shannon, the newly appointed 16th president of Freed-Hardeman University, addressed the student body, faculty, staff and board of trustees in chapel. He issued us with a challenge: to live with passion.
Whether it comes to our academic pursuits or personal goals, we were encouraged to work passionately at it. To pour ourselves into it. Give it our very best. However, to do it all for the glory of God. President Shannon, in speaking to the faculty and staff the day before had posed the following evocative question: Out of all your interests and passions, if you could only put one of these in a box — representing the top priority — what would it be?
For me, that’s a tough question to answer. I love my wife and kids, my teaching, preaching, counseling and writing career, the pursuit of outdoor adventure, and so much more. My life can often feel divided and — to be perfectly honest — pretty compartmentalized at times. I wanted to put all those things in my “box.” But I pushed myself to choose one only: Jesus Christ.
President Shannon challenged us to keep our eternal God as the top priority in our lives, the one Person who shapes the way we think, informs what we believe, and influences how we behave and respond in everything we do.
So, what are you truly passionate about? What’s the one thing that sets the tone and trajectory of your entire life? Solomon put it this way in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Everything in our life must point to God. Our dreams. Our goals. Our aspirations. Our talents. Our resources. Our relationships. Our achievements. Absolutely all of it! You see, it all ultimately belongs to our eternal God and is because of him.
As Christians, we share some general callings, such as evangelism, worship and benevolence. However, we also have individual callings, things quite distinct to each one of us. God has wired you uniquely. There’s no one else on earth exactly like you. You have no carbon copy. The Creator has endowed you with special gifts, talents, and provides you with unique opportunities to use them while you grow and serve.
Mediocrity is not an option for Christians. Neither is average. President Shannon told us his mother once said to him that, “Average is just as far from the top as it is from the bottom.” We have a higher calling and a higher standard, precisely because we belong to Christ. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for me, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Here are some more questions to ponder:
• Does your passion show? In other words, can those around you tell without a shadow of a doubt what you are passionate about?
• How does your passion influence your thoughts and actions? How does it drive your behavior? In other words, what real difference does it make in your life?
• Are you channeling and harnessing your talents to do not just good things, but the best things in serving God? In other words, to what degree are you mobilizing your passion to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ?
Jesus encouraged his followers to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matt. 5:6) and to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).
Let’s Be Passionate People For The Lord!