June 2

by Pastor Judy

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13

How would you describe yourself?  Are you a glass-half-full kind of person, or a glass-half-empty sort?  Are you more – or less – successful in business/life?  Do you think of yourself as a left- or right- brain kind of person (more analytical or more artistic)?

Guess what?  It doesn’t matter!  When you look at biblical characters, you will find all sorts.  Some who were more faith-filled than others; some who had doubt; some who ran away from God and others who stood firmly for God.  All had their strengths – and their weaknesses.  One characteristic they all shared: passion. They were full of zeal – including poor Job, who struggled with all the problems this world can dish out, all at once.  He passionately defended himself from the rather simplistic right vs wrong theology of the day, and finally put his trust in the sovereign God – a position which God commended. 

In the book of Revelation, Jesus charges one congregation with the sin of luke-warmness (if such a word exists).  They were neither cold nor hot, and Jesus says, “I wish you were one or the other!”  Of all the choices we may make, the one that Jesus seems to disdain the most is a mediocre, passionless response.  Passion seems to be something God can work with.  Even passion against him is something God can turn around and re-direct – as he did with Paul.  But someone who cares little, who shrugs God off – this is a far greater, though subtler, danger.

God is passionate.  On Pentecost Day, he sent a “rushing wind” inside the house where they were gathered, distributing on each a tongue of fire.  These are not pansy-like images.  Fire and wind connote energy, passion.  God filled his people and then sent them out with an urgent message, delivered in such a way that over 3000 people turned to faith in the Risen Christ that very day.

We live in troubled times.  Times like these call for a godly passion, the passion of love.  Paul says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”   And then he gives ways to do that.  Today, you and I are called to serve God and others — with a passion.

Lord Jesus, fill me with your zeal in love and service.  Fill me by your Spirit and send me out.  Today, send me someone I can serve, “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Change me, Lord, so that I can serve you better in this troubled world.  For I pray in your name, Amen.

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