Our first thoughts about passion are usually about romantic passion, but that is just a part of passion. Passion is any strong emotion that moves us to action. It is the fire that gets us up and moving. It can be a positive or negative emotion. It can be such a great hatred for an oppressive system of government that people take up arms against the government. It can be such great love that a person will risk personal injury for the sake of someone or something else.
This passion is one of the reasons I enjoy watching bull riding. It is obvious that the riders have such an emotional connection to the sport that they are willing to put themselves in harm’s way just to participate. The riders at local levels find the money to enter bull riding events for their one turn on the bull. They are hoping to stay on a full 8-seconds. For that opportunity, they pay money and drive long distances. They are passionate. On the professional level, we see the passion exhibited by riders. Ben Jones is one rider in the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) who comes to mind. When he has a successful ride, he does a dance. The dance is a sort of jig that he puts his whole body into while doing it. Arms and legs are flailing as he celebrates a successful ride. Commentators throughout the sport agree that they love to watch Ben Jones dance. Both the dance and Ben’s facial expression reveal the jubilation he feels when the ride is successful.
When Ben does not ride the full 8 seconds, his disappointment is intense. The grimace on his face, the clenched fists, and fast gait all express his passion as well. His emotions are beyond disappointment. He is so passionate about doing well that it is a significant emotional upheaval when he does not do well.
Bull riders often center their lives around this sport that they are extremely passionate about. They will travel long distances, miss weekends at home, put themselves in harm’s way, and center their lives around this passion. We can learn something from them. Most of us are not passionate about riding bulls, but we who follow Jesus should be passionate about serving God’s kingdom. Does your love for God burn so passionately that you are motivated to do something? Does your compassion for humanity propel you to action? Where does God’s fire burn within you? If it has been a while since you have been motivated to action, maybe you need to spend some time re-discovering and re-kindling our passion for God and God’s kingdom. Passion for God’s kingdom allowed disciples before us to take risks, sometime even risking their very lives, so that others would know about Jesus Christ. Others gave of their financial resources so that others might be fed and church buildings might be erected. Still others ordered their lives and the lives of their families around the life of the church for the sake of God’s kingdom.
May passion for God’s kingdom burn within you.