The Bridge November 12, 2010
Posted on November 12, 2010 by under Outreach and Missions,


I have often struggled with a balance between “my job” and “my passion.”  I often would say if 40% of my work can be “job” and 60% “passion” I was having a good balanced working life.  The problem was defining these things.  If I didn’t like what I was doing I would say I was “paying the bills” and leaving room for “ministry.”  The problem with this approach is that some of those things I was doing to “pay the bills” were very important to letting me “do ministry.”  So I thought I would get religious and start asking where Jesus would put his time and energy.  Unfortunately, Jesus had some options I don’t have living  2,000 years ago and being God.  So what does one do to keep a balanced life AND get the job done?

On October 19, I was on my way to New Paltz for a Classis meeting.  Classis is the group of local RCA churches that work together in ministry, accountability, etc.  The problem is, I really don’t like these meetings.  It is not the people or even the role Classis plays for our church and my life that is the problem.  The problem is I get tired of spending so much time and energy on stuff that just doesn’t seem to feed my passions.  As I was going over the bridge and trying to get my spirit in a good gracious place, God spoke very clearly to me.  “Don’t confuse what is important with the passions I have given you.”  Although this sounds strange, it was a revelation to me.  In ministry and in life there are things that are important.  These are the things that need 100% of my energy and attention, but they might not need to be things I need to get overly passionate about.  These are the places to stay calm and humble, get the job done, and move on to the things that are life-changing.

For example, to me the budget is something that is important.  It is important to have boundaries, think strategically, and be good stewards of what God has given us.  When I compare a budget meeting to meeting with a young man who is going through some tragedy in his life, it is obvious to me what is important and where my passion should be spent.  It does not take away from the importance of both, but it does indicate the place I should spend my emotional energy.  I will fight to the end for the spiritual life of a person, stay up late praying through the problem, and even skip a family meal unexpectedly to help that person.  I should not be fighting, losing sleep, or skipping family dinners for a budget meeting.   Both important, one deserving my passion.

I have spent a lot of time asking what is important and what is my passion (Those things that don’t fall in either of these camps I am getting out of my life!).  What has happened is I have gone into the important stuff with a clearer head, energy for the moment, and a resolve to be grace in those places as I reserve my energy (and anger-hopefully righteous anger) for things of passion.  I also find that I better understand how these important things impact my passion which helps my spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in all areas.

So my question to you . . . What is important in your life and ministry?  What are your passions?  What is keeping you from both?  Now try and put the appropriate energy into each and I promise you some awesome blessings from God!

Until next time . . .Mark