I’m sure you have seen bumper stickers that say: “I’D RATHER BE FLYING… GOLFING… FISHING… HUNTING” etc. Maybe you even have such a sticker on your vehicle. There are many things I enjoy such as hiking, hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, spending time with family, going for a walk, photography, carpentry, helping neighbors with projects, gardening, yard work, getting firewood, doing jigsaw puzzles, Sudokus, and crossword puzzles, playing board games, playing my French horn, playing and teaching tennis. I also have enjoyed playing basketball, volleyball and softball, but due to several back surgeries, have had to forego those sports. I also enjoy watching sporting events both live and on television. But normally, if we say “I’d rather be…..,” we are speaking of something of which we are very passionate. Well, while I enjoy all the things I have listed, my real passion is to know Christ and to share Him with others, and to study and teach His Word, the Bible.
God has made us in such a way that we can enjoy art, music, athletics, gardening, hiking, etc., but the basic desire He placed in us is to know and worship Him. Until we establish that as our passion, our life is not fulfilled. I have always enjoyed science and math and graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Industrial and Management Engineering. I enjoyed working at Hyster Company in Portland, Oregon doing engineering work. But then, God did a very special work in my heart and my passion became sharing Christ and learning and teaching His Word. That led to my resigning from Hyster Company and joining Rocky Mountain Bible Mission in Montana (where I grew up) and ultimately pastoring a church for many years. Even though I retired five years ago as pastor of Three Lakes Bible Church, I currently am teaching three Bible studies plus doing this “Wisdom of the Week” devotional. I love studying God’s Word and sharing its truths with others and watching how it changes their lives. That is my passion and I trust will be until God takes me home.
I can understand what Paul wrote to the believers at Philippi: “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi. 3:7-14). I believe the reason Paul had that as his goal was because he was motivated by the love of Christ. He wrote to the Corinthian church: “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:14,15). In other words, after all He’s done for us, how can we do less than give Him our best and live for Him continually. I believe once our heart is moved by God’s amazing grace and the love of our wonderful Redeemer and what He sacrificed on our behalf, we can’t help but become passionate about knowing Him more and more and sharing Him and His Word. It becomes the driving force of our life. Oh, we will still enjoy—probably more so—the temporal things/activities of earth—but our real love will be for Christ and His Word and the souls of others—in other words for that which is eternal.
Because Saul of Tarsus was transformed by the grace of God to become Paul, the missionary to the Gentiles, He willingly made himself a “bond-servant of Christ Jesus (Ro.1:1), and motivated by God’s love—was able to fight the good fight, keep the faith and fulfill his ministry no matter what adversity he faced. His testimony to the elders of the Ephesus church was: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
So, what is your passion? What is it that drives you? What is it that you would rather be doing? When your passion becomes knowing Christ, studying and sharing His Word, everything else you do pales in comparison, but at the same time amazingly allows you to enjoy all of life more, for you are now able to obey Paul’s admonition: “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17). You are even able to “do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. (Knowing) it is the Lord Christ whom you serve”’ (Col. 3:23,24).