One of my favorite little Bible verses might seem somewhat obscure, but in its original language, it’s packed with meaning. Paul wrote to the Romans, “I am eager to come and preach the gospel to you…” (Romans 1:16) The word translated as eager comes from a compound Greek word that means “on heat,” or as we would say it today, Paul was on fire to preach!
Passion is a priceless aspect of leadership. It’s something that can be faked, but only temporarily. We can only keep up the facade of passion for something for so long before people begin to realize we aren’t quite as invested as we’ve acted. Real passion burns inside us. It flares up somewhat uncontrollably and makes us do crazy things, like go to new places with the gospel, get personally involved in the lives of hurting sinners, and push others around us forward even at the cost of our own comfort.
Real Passion Is Cultivated with Jesus
Passion can be derived from reading the latest church growth books, attending conferences, and listening to motivational tapes about leadership. But these generate but a flicker in comparison with the true source of passion in a Christian leader – time with Jesus. Luke records the experience of two apostles shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, “Back and forth they talked. ‘Didn’t we feel on fire as he (Jesus) conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?'” (Luke 24:32 MSG)
Real Passion Is Stimulated by the Holy Spirit
In other words, passion is ultimately cultivated deep within us over time as we get closer to Jesus. His Holy Spirit has a tendency to fan it into flame and keep it alive. I don’t think this has as much to do with a “Holy Ghost revival meetin'” where we all act a little crazy as it does a far more internal combustion in the heart of a believer that absolutely must come out in the form of influencing others with drive and energy.
Real Passion Is Contagious – It Moves Others
As my friend Neil Greenhaw has wisely said, “Passion is the thing in us that breeds followers. What we are truly passionate about, people tend to follow.” And it’s so true. People simply don’t follow passionless leaders, but where you find people following something as a crowd, big or small, you’ll always find a leader passionate enough to boldly invite and empower others for the cause.
Real Passion Is Evident In Our Extra Effort
Commitment will get the job done. Commitment is good. But passion goes further. Passion is what drives us to put in overtime in the areas of life that matter the most to us. Passionate marriages show the evidence of a man pursuing his wife with intentionality. Passionate businesses go the extra mile to provide top notch, beyond normal customer service. And passionate church leaders are always chasing the next possible way to fulfill the Great Commitment in each new generation.
Real Passion Is Rare
Talent is everywhere, whether it’s invested or wasted. But passionate people stand out. There are thousands of great baseball players hanging out on sandlots around the world, but those with real passion make it to “the show.” Great singers are hiding in neighborhoods everywhere, but passionate artists are heard on the radio. And passion isn’t handed out in small quantities. It’s cultivated by choice and determination. It’s yours to pursue as much as you want.
I think the world needs people with talent, charisma, money, charm, wisdom, and a plethora of other virtues and resources. But now, more than ever, the world needs people with real passion. Are you on fire?
photo credit: kaibara87