I’ve been reading a book that’s pestered me. It’s a Christian living book, probably selling well. In it, the author talks about only doing what you want to do, focusing on passion, shying away from that which isn’t genuinely fulfilling. As I’ve bothered over this, I remember my friend Paul in Ghana who is struggling to pay his bills, who spent ten years of his life (and is probably in that season again) not knowing where his next meal is.
My point? It’s a privilege to pursue passion. It’s not always so in other parts of the world. Paul doesn’t have time or energy to explore the way God made him, unfortunately. In the immediate necessity of today, he simply needs to work, to provide for his family, to pray and trust God for provision. Jesus, and Jesus alone, must become his passion.
As I head to Cape Town, I have a feeling this message will grab me by the throat: that the hallmark of the Christian life isn’t getting to do all the cool things you want to do in ministry. It isn’t going on a narcissistic bent toward vocational or missional fulfillment. It isn’t about doing only those things which edify self or bring happy comfort.
The hallmark of the Christian life is undecorated, unapplauded words like obedience, suffering, servanthood and lordship.
I can’t wait to meet people who are full of passion for Jesus, not full of their own fulfillment. (And to be honest, I worry I’m one of those personal passion chasers myself.) I count it a privilege to meet those leaders who suffer for the sake of Jesus. It’s humbling to know I will meet spiritual giants who look ordinary and suffer loss with joy. They won’t be flashy. They may not be eloquent. But they will radiate Jesus.
Why do I know this? I’ve met believers like this before. And every single time, I’m deeply humbled, and my longing grows. I want more of Jesus like they have. I want less of the outward decorations of evangelicalism, the way we tend to gravitate toward the known, the articulate, those with growing ministries. I’d rather hang with my friend Paul, the humble Ghanaian.
So pray for me. Pray I’d meet believers who challenge me, not by their pursuit of personal passion, but by their passionate pursuit of Jesus. And pray I’d become more like them, less interested in building my own happy kingdom, more preoccupied with advancing the kingdom of God.