What are you passionate about?

3 girlsThe last weekend in February, I went to visit Joshua and Courtney in Seattle.   Bethany and Ryan came up from Salem and we had an awesome time together. One of the many enjoyable things we did was go on a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory.   Our tour guide told us all about the chocolate-making process, from the picking of cocoa beans in Africa and South America all the way to the mixing and wrapping of the final product.  We learned a lot and got to sample a variety of chocolate in the process.  Our tour guide has been doing these tours for several years and she was obviously really passionate about good chocolate.

photo Joshua and Ryan not only had to wear hair nets to tour the factory, they had to wear beard nets as well.   (If you are interested in learning more, here’s the link: https://www.theochocolate.com/factory-tours )

We also went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum next to the Space Needle.  We saw some amazing blown glass sculptures there.  One of the highlights for me was to watch a glass-blowing demonstration.  Three experts explained and demonstrated the process of glass-blowing, starting from the raw materials all the way to the finished product (a beautiful hourglass-shaped vase).   We learned that it takes thousands of hours of practice and repetition over several years to get to the point where a quality piece of art can be produced.  It was evident to everyone watching that they were very passionate about the art of glass-blowing.

glass

This is one of the many beautiful glass sculptures.  (If you are interested in seeing more of the exhibits, here’s the link:  http://www.chihulygardenandglass.com)

Webster’s dictionary gives several definitions of the word “passion”:

  1. ardent affection  – a strong liking or devotion to some activity, object, or concept

  2. the emotions as distinguished from reason :  intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction :  an outbreak of anger

  3. sexual desire:  an object of desire or deep interest

  4. the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and His death

The woman at the chocolate factory and the artists at the glass museum had the type of passion described in the first definition.  I asked myself what I would be considered to be passionate about.  As I was growing up, I would say that I was most passionate about doing my best academically so that I could get into medical school and become a doctor.  When I started getting serious about my faith in college, I became very passionate about telling others the Good News of the Gospel.   When I got married and had children, I became passionate about growing a strong, healthy, well-loved family.  Now I would say over everything else that I try to be passionate about loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself.  I find that if I live passionately for loving God and loving others, my other goals and desires will be accomplished as well.

I have found that there are many distractions along the way that might keep me from being fully devoted to the things most important to me.  It takes focus, deliberateness, and mindfulness to stay on track and remain passionate about the important things .  I think we all tend to suffer a little from spiritual ADD, with the “tyranny of the urgent” crowding out and taking precedence over the important.

We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week. Extra time of prayer and Bible study, a visit with that non-Christian friend, careful study of an important book: these projects can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action–endless demands; pressure every hour and day.  Charles Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent

The fourth definition of passion refers to the sufferings of Christ between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.   The original Latin word “passionem” meant “suffering or enduring”.  I believe Jesus gave us the perfect example of someone who was passionate about His calling and purpose to the very end, even in the midst of intense and undeserved suffering.

Jesus said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

Jesus chose to die.  The Father purposed it and Jesus embraced it.  His passion was first for His Father’s will and second for the joy of bringing us into the Kingdom as His brothers and sisters through his sacrificial death in our place.  He stayed passionate about doing the Father’s will to the very end because of the joy set before Him.

So how can we overcome our tendency to get distracted and caught up in the immediate and temporary things at the expense of what is important?  I would suggest that we are unable to do it all on our own and require help sometimes.  This help comes from our kind and gracious Father through a number of ways, including His Word (reading the Bible regularly), Jesus’ example (focusing on how He lived and becoming imitators of Him), the indwelling Holy Spirit (listening to the prompting of that still, small voice within us), and the support and accountability from other believers.

Happy Easter, Friends!  He is risen, He is risen indeed!

المسيح قام حقاً قام

 

 

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