I just sat down and read a page or two in a book I’m reading, Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace co-written by John S. Garfield and Harold R. Eberle. The gist of the book is finding your ‘calling’ when it’s not a ‘church-calling’. In other words, the title. This chapter deals with the Strengths of Kings (those not called into church ministry); their desires, visions, and passions. We so often think we have to be without desires or passions, in order to serve God well. This page is amazing! He quotes a John Elridge “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you fully alive, because the world needs you fully alive.” Garfield & Eberle go on to explain that they’re not teaching unbridled enthusiasm, but they are

teaching ehthusiasm. Passion is your friend. It is God-given. He put it in your nature…Does God really want you to live this way? Let me boldly declare to you that this is the only path to holiness (wow, think on that for a minute!). Traditionally, holiness is defined as the absence of sin, which really is more a byproduct of holiness. Real holiness springs out of the passion and fruit that go with the positive things we naturally and passionately desire to do; things that match the heart of God. This means that to attain holiness, we cannot focus solely on sin and be sucessful. In a sin-oriented theology, we force ourselves into a discipline of religious obedience, integrity, perseverance in trials, faithfulness, serving in another person’s vision, learning authority and submission – all things we can try to generate in our own strength without God. … I want you to do your own thing – because your thing is God’s thing! Too extreme? God created you with desires and passions we need to pursui in His way. But they must be pursued. They reflect His heart. you are an expression of God’s heart.

(Ok, this is not part of the quote (neither is the above parentheses) but the durn blogger won’t let me out of it. ) Isn’t it amazing? Whether you serve in the church as a pastor, teacher, evangelist, apostle, prophet or outside it as a businessman, teacher, politician, doctor, broadcaster, artist, farmer, parent, etc, this is so freeing! I’m sure I’m not the only one who constantly second-guesses my motives or directions or decisions, and this is a wonderful reminder of how much love and interest my Lord has for me. It’s not some big cosmic game of God instilling us all with passions and desires only to sit back and see if we can manage to ‘overcome’ them. Obviously I’m not trying to advocate sin in any form. And we certainly all need to be praying about the paths we take. But I firmly believe that God lays before us many options… and many of them are equally good. Trust me, he will use any and all choice we make to bring us closer to Him (ok, quit thinking of trials and suffering here). That’s an interesting rabbit trail… as a parent, I know that my pride and approval in my children brings them closer to me than does their sin and guilt. Hearts are knit when a warm smile of love and acceptance is shared. I bet God is the same. He will let us fall on our faces when we are disobedient (selfish, etc), to teach us the folly of our ways, but he would much rather see us overcome (give, love) and draw closer to Him in it.

For me this means so much. Sometimes I think I’m a bit schitzophrenic in my ‘passions’. Reading up on this, doing that, learning all I can about one project or another (and then undertaking it). Is this ok? Am I some black hole of attention deficit, always devouring the next thing? Perhaps it is ok. Perhaps being a Jack (Jacqueline?) Of All Trades is part of what makes me tick. *I* think it is.

May you be blessed in your undertakings, in your passions and in discovering your true self, your calling.