I once met a young woman who was passionate about insects — and that made her a true authority on them. Her life's goal, even as a child, was to study and know insects. She read literature on insects, researched them, and studied their every move. She still does. Her scorpions and spiders live with her. She takes them on tours — wherever she is invited. She said to me, "Education alone cannot make you passionate about something. Learning must be a lifelong passion. That is what makes you a good teacher." Her professional job is meat inspection, but her passion is insects. They are her life, the air she breathes — and it is obvious. By the time I left her presence, I had caught a deep respect for some of earth's most unappealing critters. I was changed. I will never forget her passion. She reminds me of the professor who said, "My students will not remember what I taught them; but they will remember what I am passionate about."
True authorities are passionately focused on their area of interest. They don't have to be professionals — quite the opposite! In fact, an amateur can be defined as "someone who loves or is greatly interested in something".
How would our acquaintances describe our spiritual passion? Is it evident? Would they see Christ as our treasured interest, the air we breathe, our very life? Isn't this the essence of authentic spiritual authority? And doesn't our society cry out for such "amateurs" of the Christian faith — those who love and are greatly interested in God? Surely this is the kind of leader we need in our churches — people who have made learning their lifelong passion. We will always need professionals, but it is our passionate "amateurs" who will influence change. Just as the woman with the insects discovered, true passion will stick. When our passion for God is nurtured through a life of passionate learning, we will be ready and eager to express it when the opportunity arises:
1 Peter 3:15b – Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, please stir within us a passion for You, that we may always be ready to share the hope of Your salvation. Amen.