Mark has been a close friend for as many years as I’ve worked with The Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community. We were talking on the phone as we do at least once a week. Mark began calling me on a regular basis about five years ago. Even though he is 20 years my junior we have a deep friendship and I value his opinion.
“For years, I’ve felt your passion for the mentally challenged community but I’m only beginning to understand it,” he confessed to me last week. ”At times, that passion has been more intimidating than contagious.”
I wasn’t sure that his comments were meant as a compliment or a point of correction. He continued, “Because of your passion, I could not help but feel that I should be doing something, as well.”
Passion is an interesting emotion. It comes from desire, knowledge and deep concern or deep joy. Most of the time when I write or speak about the mentally challenged community, it is done from a deep sense of joy. I feel a great sense of humility to be given the honor to be able to serve this amazing population. In the decades that I’ve been ministering in this cloistered sub-culture, my heart has been moved more by joy than frustration.
Concern can be passed from one person to another. Fear and doubt grow like orange mold when groups are infected with the life-robbing spores. Joy can be transferred through laughter. Even a smile can change the moment for another person.
But passion must come from within the individual. Godly passion comes from seeds planted by the Holy Spirit in the heart of a person. No amount of preachy talk, scolding, or coaxing produces passion. Even experience and camaraderie will not produce passion.
Passion forces and then allows you to go against the very fiber of you personality. I have friends who have such a passion for displaced women that they have built and fostered a ministry for these women, complete with a new building. They are sold out regarding their commitment. Yet, they live frugal lives. They watch every dime and quarter, not allowing even one to slip through their fingers.
I believe that God has given me a great gift to be passionate about a people who may be ignored in the hustle and bluster of 21th century maneuvering. What is the passion of your life? Do you believe that God has given this to you? or have circumstances allowed/forced you to become passionate?