I have been asked to teach church leaders from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on the “live-giving church.” So, I have been doing some thinking and praying about the topic and how to approach it. A key word in this study would be “passion.” And, I believe it boils down to a personal level of living a “live-giving” life.
In a small town in Kansas you will find what is certainly one of the world’s largest balls of twine. At last count, this ball of twine weighed nearly nine tons. It is a full forty feet in circumference and would stretch nearly fifteen hundred miles long — about halfway across the nation of Canada, in case you’re interested in testing it out. The originator of this ball of twine started his work in 1953, and he died just before he reached his goal of having the world’s largest one. Today, the whole town pitches in to keep the ball of twine growing.
At this point you may be tempted to take a deep breath and say, “Well, that’s . . .unique!” But you would be wrong. A town in Minnesota has what they declare to be the true world’s largest ball of twine, weighing in heavier than nine tons. And there are several other towns racing to be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for their own monster twine balls.
Whatever else you may say about such a pursuit, you have to be impressed by the passion of those who focus the heart energies of their life on one very precise goal. What is it inside a man, a woman, or a town that would drive them to spend all their spare moments for fifty years accumulating a ball of twine? Or building a replica of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks?
For that matter, if we are really honest, what keeps you getting out of bed each morning, facing a untidy house or a stressful business career? You might say, “That’s an entirely different matter! We’re not talking about a hobby, I have to make those beds and wash those dishes or our home will be in chaos. I have to put in a productive day at work of the cheques will stop rolling in, I do what I must — out of sheer necessity.”
There we have it. You do what you have to do, not from passion but from obligation, There’s a world of difference, isn’t there?
Yet it wasn’t always so. Can you remember the first morning in your home, when the boxes were still packed? Can you think back to your first week on the job, before your business cards were even printed? Perhaps there was a little something more that moved you forward then. Motivated you to get up and get moving. Perhaps there was excitement and energy, and you were impassioned. The time flew by as you went about your work, for this was a new life. This was the goal you had been aiming for. There were new areas to explore and new facts to discover about yourself.
Marriages begin with passion. We believe the honeymoon will last forever.
Faith begins with passion. We believe we’ll live on a spiritual mountaintop forever.
For that matter, you may experience passion — of a sort — for an object: a new wide-screen smart television or a luxury automobile with that new-car smell. It may not last long, but if one man can be passionate about a ball of twine, you can certainly be excited about your car!
The question is, Why does this intense dedication wear off? Why does the thrill fade like a T-shirt image after a few rounds in the washing machine, like a peeling bumper sticker or a sun-bleached wall poster?
Why can’t we live with passion every day of our life? If we could package passion in a can, we could make millions of dollars. If we could use it every day, then this life would bear more than a passing resemblance to the next one in Heaven.
I am absolutely convinced that life is meant to be lived with powerful emotions and heightened expectation — with joy, fulfillment, excitement, and purpose. I am convinced that when we live with passion we honour God powerfully, for it is then that we resemble Him most in spirit. He created us passionately, with joy and commitment to us, and His love for us has never worn off.
I’m not talking about the passing fancy du jour. I’m referring to something that penetrates deeper than the emblem on your shirt and a philosophy too complex for a number sticker. I’m referring to a kind of life that doesn’t eliminate the occasional blue Monday but powerfully transcends it. Passion is all about a basic mind-set and a heart attitude for embracing life — positively, energetically, full bore, pedal to the metal, wide open life.
I think the passionate life is what Jesus was talking about when He promised, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). It’s the “first love” described by John in Revelation 2:4 — a “first love” that is not designed to wear off.
Food for thought: How is your level of passion for life today? What will help you to regain the passion that you have lost? What will cause you to be more passionate tomorrow than you are right now, today?
Life was meant to be lived abundantly, with passion and enthusiasm. If we, as believers, have lost our passion why would others want what we say we have? Maybe our lifestyle is killing our message. Just maybe. Just a thought!