Yesterday, I published a post and the title might have scared a few people. Some would call me an extremely passionate person. I know of a handful of people who would not be excited to hear that I somehow lost my passion for Jesus, ministry to young adults and the global church. I am not gonna lie — passion was much easier to maintain when I knew a lot less about people and how organizations work. There have been moments in the last year that I have had to literally fight for the passion in my life. But I can confidently say that today, I am have never been more passionate about my King and what He wants for this generation and His Church.
So how might a person maintain their passion? How could a person keep the fire for the cause of the kingdom of God burning white-hot for years to come. Here is what has worked for me. But first, let me give some background information.
In the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), God commanded that his people would observe three pilgrimage festivals, The Feast of Passover (Pesach), Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) and Feast of Booths or Ingathering (Sukkot). Three times a year, every male in the nation would make the trip to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to God. Now I am still learning about this tradition and I am sure there are key points I will learn along the way. But I think within this commandment is a principle to keeping your passion burning hot. Simply, I think we all need multiple times a year set aside to celebrate what God has done and deepen our relationship with Jesus.
This is clearly seen in the typical youth ministry calendar. There is nothing like the spiritual high that one experiences after going on a youth retreat. Youth directors will go through a ton of stress in planning these trips because they know there will be messages heard, songs sung, and commitments made in way that would not happen at a normal weekly gathering. In the same way, our campus ministry regularly takes college students to events like Passion. We go through the trouble of booking buses and hotel rooms, not because we enjoy the conference scene. We know that something happens when a college student makes the investment and reserves time to focus on their relationship with Jesus.
How have I maintained my passion for Jesus and His mission? For the last 10 years or so, I have attended conferences and retreats all over the world for the sole purpose of spending a specified amount of time focused on one thing — my relationship with Jesus. You may say, “well, you could do that at home and that should be a daily thing anyways.” And I would say, “True, but how focused can you be on Jesus in your regular routine? In fact, isn’t it the daily grind of life that drains your passion for what really matters in this life?” Furthermore, why would God have commanded his people to make three pilgrimages a year…in a culture that did not have television, smart phones or corporate structures. I would suggest that our spiritual rhythm needs set aside time to realign ourselves with our Creator and His purposes. This is how I have maintained my passion.
I am sure many out there will disagree. I am sure you are too busy, too overloaded with life, too skeptical of the next big event, too unwilling to make the time or investment or whatever. But let me ask you, how is your passion? When was the last time you spent a couple of days with one goal: your relationship with Jesus and His call on your life?
If you have lost your passion, you are gonna have to be intentional if you ever want to get it back.