When my sister was born in November 1960 my parents received family allowance payments (they weren’t payable for the first child in those days). This enabled them to send me to a kindergarten. I have very few memories of time spent at kindergarten, but the clearest of all is of my father walking me to kindergarten and effusing about the beautiful blossom on the trees lining the roads. In fact Dad went on and on about the blossom so much that not only have I never forgotten his passion for the beauty of blossom bearing trees, but I have had a life-long passion for seeing trees in blossom. That’s because passion is infectious. Imagine if Dad had simply walked me past the trees without mentioning the blossom. Would I have been so appreciative of blossom fifty-plus years later?
Then I think back to the Christian camp where I surrendered my life to God. What made the difference? While I have to accept that the Holy Spirit was involved it was the infectious passion of the camp leaders that caught my attention. When I became involved in a church as a teenager living away from home what drew me into that fellowship? It was the passion for following Jesus evident in the lives of the youth and the young couples in that church, and a pastor who was passionate about sharing the good news about Jesus. When I came back to God after a period of indifference in my mid-twenties what made the difference? It was a man who was passionate about Jesus who invested time in sharing with me every week.
I truly believe that God is passionate about us. God’s passionate love for humanity is evident in the way that He allowed His Son Jesus to die in our place. God is so passionate about us that He allows us to call Him Father. And if God is passionate about us, then surely we should be passionate about spending time with Him, passionate about worshipping Him, and passionate about sharing the good news so that others may fall passionately in love with Him too. We should be so passionate that we are radiant.
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
(Psalm 34:1-5 NIV)