Friday, March 2, 2012



At the beginning of each semester a certain college professor poses this question to his students: “What is your passion? If the world was going to end tomorrow, what is the one thing in the world that would make you happy? What one thing are you passionate about, that you could spend the rest of your life doing?”

I think that’s a great question, don’t you? Today we have so many people going through life hating their jobs, feeling frustrated over their particular lot in life and in general, they are in a perpetual funk!

One of the definitions for passion is to have boundless enthusiasm. How many people do you know that have passion, in this particular sense of the word, for what they are doing?

Passion is also a driving force that pushes people beyond their limits in an endeavor to do what they love. Recently I read an article by a motivational speaker in which she stated, “Passion + production = performance. People who love what they do, get the best results.”

Passion can be a driving force for good or evil. Right or wrong, passionate people are shakers and movers. The old axiom, “Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what has happened” is so true.

While thinking about the word passion, my mind wandered about its meaning in the movie title, The Passion of Christ.
Why was this term used? We usually think of the word passion in a sexual sense, but digging deeper we understand that passion also means a driving force or boundless enthusiasm.

The word used in the movie title no doubt was an explanation of the sufferings of Christ on the cross, as in the term ‘Passion Play’, and forewarned the prospective audience that Jesus would be seen as one who suffered for lost humanity.

Would we be correct in saying that Jesus had a force driving Him in the direction of the cross? Was His march toward suffering made with boundless enthusiasm? Of the two meanings I would suggest to you that the first is true. The driving force that sent Him to a horrible and ignominious end was His great love for us.

Interestingly, there is a flower, known as the Passion flower, which depicts this suffering in a visible way. Although there are some 500 varieties of the Passion flower, only one in particular, according to legend, commemorates the Crucifixion.

The Blue Passion flower, which blooms with either blue or white petals, has a spiked crown of violet in the center. The pointed tips of the leaves are said to represent the Holy Lance, the sword that pierced Jesus side.

Although there are many meanings for the various parts of the flower, the one that stands out so obviously is the flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower. These spiky filaments represent the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus.

Today herbalists have extracted liquid from these flowers, selling it in health food stores, claiming it has a calming and healing effect in one’s body.

Although I have never tried the Passion flower liquid extract, I can say unequivocally that there is peace, calmness and healing in knowing the One for whom the Passion flower represents; the One who had the greatest passion of all for His life’s work and mission.

Over and over Jesus told His disciple that he had to go to Jerusalem, the place where he would eventually die. One Scripture says He set His face as a flint toward this city. (Isaiah 50:7) Nothing would deter him from his predetermined purpose.

Hebrews 12:2 puts it this way: “…..who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” What was that joy that enabled Him to go the distance? Friend it was you…it was me…it was everyone in the world who would believe and trust in Him.

Back to the question posed by the professor, “What is your passion? If the world was going to end tomorrow……” Are you passionate about superfluous things? Our lives are but a vapor…here today…gone tomorrow…and then what?

One of my greatest heroes, C.T. Studd,missionary to Africa and China penned a poem which reads in part… “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”


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