Summary: Message created for Missions Conference, expanding on the call to be a blessing to all peoples.
Martin Luther once spent three days in a black depression over something that had gone wrong. On the third day his wife came downstairs dressed in mourning clothes.
"Who’s dead?" he asked her.
"God," she replied.
Luther rebuked her, saying, "What do you mean, God is dead? God cannot die."
"Well," she replied, "the way you’ve been acting I was sure He had!"
There was once a young boy who went to spend the week with his grandfather on the farm. While walking around he noticed the chickens: they were scratching and playing around. The little lad said, “They ain’t got it”. Next he saw a colt in the field playing and kicking up its heels to which he replied, “He ain’t got it”. After examining all of the animals on his grandfather’s farm and seeing that none of them had “it”, this boy finally found the old donkey in the barn. When he saw the donkey’s long, frowning face and the way that the donkey just stood there he screamed for his grandfather to come quick. “I found it, I found it” the boy kept yelling. When his grandfather asked what he had found he said, “Pawpaw, I found an animal that has the same kind of religion that you have.” Ouch!!!
Too many of us can relate to this story. In fact, too many of us resemble this story.
PASSION. It can evoke a wide variety of images and thoughts. Definitions given in the American Heritage Dictionary include: “A powerful emotion . . . Ardent love . . . Boundless enthusiasm . . . An abandoned display of emotion.” It can be applied to so many different things and areas of life, to positive or negative result. We are all passionate about something. Unfortunately, some of us are passionate about being indifferent – or living without any notable passion.
Why is it that passion so often seems to be lacking in God’s people? Perhaps it is a fear borne out of so much passion directed the wrong way. Passions for lust, material wealth, power, or information. But is that an excuse for apathy or indifference? Larry Crabb, Christian counselor, author and speaker has written, “The core problem is not that we are too passionate about bad things, but that we are not passionate enough about good things.”
We all need passion if we are to accomplish anything in life, if we are to live with a purpose.
Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881)
A man without passion is only a latent force, only a possibility, like a stone waiting for the blow from the iron to give forth sparks.
Do you know that even God has great passion? After all, it is in His image that He created us to be passionate. Not for emotion’s sake, but for a fantastic purpose!
God’s great passion is to see the lost redeemed. God blesses us, not because we deserve it or are so wonderful, but in order that we may be a blessing to others through submitting to God’s call to redeem the lost in His power. Soul-winning and missions are His passion!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
How about you? What is your passion? Are you aware that it is God’s will and plan that His passion is exercised through the cooperation of his people? The passion of God, if it is to be fulfilled, requires that we – believers in the Lord Jesus Christ – become His obedient instruments! This is the central theme of the entire Bible.
Eric Liddell - the late Olympic Gold-medalist, career missionary, and subject of an Oscar winning film (“Chariots of Fire”) – had this to say: “We are all missionaries. Wherever we go, we either bring people nearer to Christ, or we repel them from Christ.”
Now, I don’t believe that any of us has the power, ability (or disability) to prevent someone from getting saved. But our words and actions do significantly influence people’s attitudes and receptivity toward Christ.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12:1-4
Who is Abram and why him? Abram was what we today would call “an average Joe.” There was nothing special about Abram. He was a seventy-five year old man, still living with his family and whose father just died. He was the son of a maker and worshipper of idols. Up until this point he had lived a very unremarkable life. So why did God start all of this with Abram?