It is wonderful to live with passion. It is also important to live with passion. Life and passion go together. Being alive means being passionate.
It is sad to see people merely exist but not being alive. It is sad to see so many people live without passion. They may coast along without serious problems but they lack passion in life.
Passion is a strong desire to live. Passionate living is living with clear knowledge of why you live. A mediocre lifestyle will not satisfy those who live with passion.
What gives us passion for life then? What gives you a strong desire and what gives you clear reason to live?
Calling. A sense of calling.
It is not just your desire that makes you passionate. You somehow discover that you are chosen. Chosen to do something or to be somebody. That is the sense of calling. Seeing your life as calling gives you passion.
This sense of calling will not come automatically. It is something that you discover. It is discovering that you are connected. Connected with something or somebody greater than you. You feel that you are not on your own in this gigantic universe. You discover that your life is not just a series of random events.
YOUR LIFE IS CONNECTED WITH A PURPOSE.
It is not necessarily about what you do in life. It is about you, the person. You are not necessarily called to do anything. You are called to be somebody. Of course, often who you are is connected with what you do.
What I am saying is, you don’t have to change your career to do something or something like that. Your whole existence is connected with the calling. You are not alone. You are connected with God and the purpose God has for you. That purpose guides you and leads you in a certain direction. That is calling. And when that calling is clear, passion comes alive.
That was what Isaiah said about this servant’s life.
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. (Isaiah 49:1)
Of course, he didn’t know whether God called him or not before he was born. How could he know when he was not even born. He was saying that he discovered the deep connection between his life and God’s calling. He realized that even before he was born, he was chosen. Almost predestined. That is our understanding of predestination. Predestination does not mean that your life is already decided but your life is deeply connected with God’s calling.
Jeremiah said the same thing about his life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
He discovered that his life was deeply connected with God’s calling.
This connectedness gives us passion. Passion is more than doing what you want. Passion is more than living as you like it. You live your life as you are almost destined to live.
Of course, it is not always easy to accept that my life is called by God. We rather want to live as we like it. We don’t like to feel burdened. We don’t like to feel pressured.
We are not the only ones who feel that way. Even the servant in today’s passage says that. The great prophet Jeremiah said that. Even the greatest prophet Moses said that.
The servant said this.
I have laboured in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity…(Isaiah 49:4)
Jeremiah said this.
Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy. (Jeremiah 49:6)
Moses kept saying to God. Send somebody else. I can’t do it. I don’t know how to speak. They are too strong for me to handle. I am too old. What you are asking me is too much for me to take.
Yes, accepting the calling is hard. To see our life in connection with God’s calling is hard. We just want to limit our life to what we want to do. Anything beyond that is a burden. We have decided to make our life to be that way. We already put a boundary around us. No wonder it is hard to live with passion. You can live a passionate life when you realize that your life, and what you do is connected with a higher purpose, and deeper meaning.
You cannot live a passionate life no matter how great your hobby is, how luxurious your life is, how glorious your job is. You can live a passionate life when you realize that your life is deeply connected with a deeper purpose. That is how we human beings are created. That’s why we can be spiritual.
We cannot be satisfied just because we are well fed and well protected. We are created to be too spiritual to be satisfied with that kind of things.
We pursue what is noble. We pursue what is worthwhile. We pursue what is meaningful.
Usually, what is noble, what is worthwhile, and what is meaningful is to do with serving others. In other words, our calling has very much to do with serving others.
That was what today’s passage says about this servant.
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)
His calling was not about him. His calling was about the salvation of others. Calling is not often about yourself. Calling is about helping others.
Then we realize that real passion is possible only when we desire to serve others. When we live our lives, serving only our needs, what good is it? It is living your life at the very elemental level. There is no admirable quality in it. For me, living a passionate life, serving others is much more fun and meaningful than living a life, serving only my needs.
When Jeremiah said, I am only a boy, God said this to Jeremiah.
Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.’(Jeremiah 1:8)
He took away fear from him.
Yes, when you realize that your life is calling, God will remove fear from you. That is a wonderful thing that can happen to anybody. We all live with fear. But God will take away that fear.
That was what Jesus said to the disciples.
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’(John 16:33)
This was what God said to Isaiah.
do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Yes, he removes fear from us.
And he said this.
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’(Jeremiah 1:9-10)
He gave him the word to speak. God didn’t expect Jeremiah to do things with his own power. God provided the power to him.
God did the same thing to Moses. God provided a staff to Moses. And through the staff, God showed his wonderful power.
After he calls you, God will do two things. God will remove fear from you. Then, God will give you the strength. You are not alone. God will be always with you by giving you the courage and the power. So that you can live out your calling.
That’s when we can live our life with passion.