What are you passionate about? You know, so passionate that once you get going, you can’t stop talking about your passion?
I am quite passionate about riding my bike, some of you may know. And I really like to have a good chat about bikes. What kind of shifters or breaks you find good. What tyre pressure you prefer. What wet-weather or winter gear you’ve found helpful. Or what kind of trails you’ve just discovered for yourselves. Those sorts of things I love talking about because I’m passionate about them myself.
I know people who have a passion for classic cars, and love nothing more than talking about carburettors, accelerator pumps, engine tuning, and where to get the best spare parts. And I know many folks who love nothing better than talking seeds, bulbs and secateurs, perennials and annuals, borders or wildflower meadows. You may be one of them. And that’s great: you have a passion.
People who have a passion will educate themselves in what they’re passionate about. They will read more about their passion, they’ll hone their skills. They’ll train and they’ll often seek out others who share their passion. In my case I plan trail rides, challenge myself to longer rides and steeper inclines, measure the average speed and the peak speed of my rides and so on. We grow in knowledge and skills when we work on our passions.
What’s true for our hobbies is also true for our spiritual lives. These past two weeks at St Paul’s we’ve talking about discipleship. Discipleship at its most simple means following Jesus. That’s the starter package, as it were. You decide that you want to be a follower of Jesus. But like with any passion, there are many things we can do to work on our passion for Jesus. It’s really very much like any other passion. We read more about Jesus – in the Bible. We seek out other folks who are passionate about Jesus – in church. We talk more about Jesus – in Bible study or other study groups. We work on our passions, and by doing so we grow.
My bike-riding colleagues at the Cathedral sometimes roll their eyes when I ask how their riding is going. They do that very politely, don’t get me wrong. They really are very kind in indulging my passion to talk some more about riding. You know when you’re really passionate about something you do want to talk more about it. The same holds true for our passion for Jesus. We would want to talk more about Jesus, and how beneficial, how transformational knowing Jesus has been for us and our lives. And that way we begin to grow in a different sort of way. Not in maturity or skill in our own passion, but in numbers. Because passions can be infectious.
I encourage you to make Jesus your passion in the same way that you make your hobby your passion. Think about him more. Read about him more. Talk about him more. Work on your skills in studying the Bible, in praying and in talking with others about him. Join a Jesus club – I mean a church – and share with others in working on your passion. That way many more people will come to share what has been good and transformational for you. And don’t worry when your passion carries you away every now and then. Most people know what it’s like when folks get on their hobby horse. They may roll their eyes. Subtly. But on the whole they’re really polite about it.
Let us pray:
Thank you Lord, for calling us into discipleship and making us your friends,
inspire us as we seek to work on our passion for you,
by studying the Scriptures, by sharing in worship and fellowship, and by praying regularly;
enable us to grow, and share our passion with others,
so that we may grow together: individually maturing and growing in numbers.
Bless us on our journeys of discipleship and grant us always the gift of your Holy Spirit to inspire and sustain us, so that wherever you send us, and wherever we may go, we know ourselves to be in your presence, Lord Jesus Christ, for you are alive and reign, with the Father and the Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.