I have been known to get excited about a few things in my life. That is probably an understatement if you ask those that know me best. Most people that know me well would describe me as truly passionate about the issues and people that I care deeply about.
As a child the things that motivated me were pretty simple – sports and friends (though I wasn’t very good at the sports, I certainly played them a lot). As I grew older, my interests grew as I developed a love for reading, studying, and academic success. Entering the work world as a young adult, I soon realized that a passion for work was not the norm and often set me apart from others that I worked with. Later, as I evaluated my life and how God had made me, I realized to my great joy that he had prepared a vocation for me that harnessed many of my passions and would unleash them for his Glory as long as I laid them at the foot of the cross and took no glory for the results.
How often in the ensuing years I have run into people that do not seem to have a passion for anything. They are either on autopilot or have simply burnt out. Far too often these types of people find themselves working in a retail or service environment and are doing a disservice to themselves and those that they are supposed to be serving. This is particularly troubling when it is taking place in a Christian bookstore. More often than I would like to admit, I have been served by people who could have been serving me a burger with a sneer at McDonald’s rather than the life giving word of God and the transformational books that Christian authors have written. To God’s glory, however, I have also had many positive experiences in Christian bookstores – but almost all involved someone who was passionate about books and the work that they were doing. They were not knowledgeable about the content of their stock because it was a job responsibility, but because they genuinely cared about the books themselves and the reading habits and interests of their customers. New titles were treated as gifts to be discovered for the first time and older titles were treated like trusted friends and Godly advisers. Who wouldn’t want to buy a book from a person like that so that we could share in a mutually satisfying experience of the joy of discovery as God used the power of the written word to enlighten us.
What a shame it is to live life in low gear simply to “get through the day” when God offers us so much more. No matter what our circumstances, He longs to use us in his service and to bring out the gifts and talents that he has bestowed upon us. Far too often we settle for what is possible and doable rather than what is His will. Discovering that His will is to utilize our passions for His glory is one of the greatest discoveries in life. Oh that at the end of our lives we can say like Paul,
“6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
This weekend, I am reminded of the ultimate Passion in the sacrifice and suffering of our Lord Jesus on the cross. He cared so deeply about each one of us that he faced the ultimate pain of separation and rejection of His father on our behalf. I am convinced that we can never completely understand the full impact of the atonement this side of heaven as none of us are perfect or have been asked to take on this kind of pain for the sake of another. Each year as I celebrate Easter, it seems that the Lord is revealing more glimpses of his passion for me as I better understand and appreciate his death and resurrection. One day I know that I will see it all clearly and not “as through a glass, darkly”. Oh what a glorious day that will be!