When I was a Missions Pastor, I was once asked as part of a staff exercise, "What gets you out of bed in the morning?"
That is a question that could call for a very complicated, multifaceted response. But after considering all the possibilities and combinations, there is one simple common denominator, albeit with tangential elements. It is the passion that drives my life; the very reason for my existence.
You see, my friends, it’s ultimately all about God’s glory.
Revelation 7 is a section of Scripture that gives me great inspiration, hope and drive. The Spirit, through John, writes: I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
Can you picture it, my brothers and sisters? Close your eyes for just a moment and imagine a massive ring of people around a great throne. Can you see the Masai warrior from Kenya worshipping the Lord in his native tongue? He is there. He is holding hands with an Inuit Eskimo on his right and a Cuban farmer on his left. Many former tribal Hindus are also there. As are Chinese peasants, European Kings, Australian aborigines, Haitian refugees, Turkish Cypriots, Polynesian sailors and many, many others.
Now picture your boss in that same ring. Can you see him or her? How about your mailman, your dry cleaner, your next-door neighbor? Are they there also? Many people from our communities will be…or could be.
God is most glorified as a diversity of peoples from all types of cultures and backgrounds come to worship Him. Homogeny is bland. It paints God as a God of a certain type of people. Diversity, however, is grand. Unity of diversity is downright glorious. It honors God as the God of all nations, all cultures, all types of peoples over all time periods. It places Him rightly as the Preeminent One that transcends all differences, all barriers. He indeed is MOST glorified through a wide array of peoples coming to know and worship Him.
How can we be a part of magnifying His name in such a way?
My family, this is what really stokes me, energizes me each day – to see the Church running well on all cylinders for that grandest of purposes – the worship of the Living God. By the way, that’s Church with a capital "C." The Church involves many elements. Yes, at its core are churches (with a small "c") all over the world. But it also includes a variety of other complementary, not replacement, groups that work in concert to see all the parts of the Body at healthy levels and working together most effectively.
What is my passion in a nutshell? – the Church, the Bride of Christ, reaching its full potential to give God glory. To see members of the Body in joyful fellowship with each other. To see them discipled to constantly look more and more like Christ day after day. To see them faithful, fruitful and fulfilled as they use they giftings and passions for ministry service. And to see them sharing Christ with a lost and hurting world, a lost and hurting community.
This is not a sequential process. We are not called to share Christ only when we think we are ready; think we are prepared enough. We are to share Him now and at every moment…in our actions and words.
But it is part of a balance. How can we fill others’ cups if our own isn’t filled? How can we bring worshippers around the Throne if we ourselves are not living lives of worship in fellowship with others?
That is what gets me out of bed each morning…the thought that, as we balance our lives and Church to reflect God’s purposes, reaching the lost for the glory of God becomes more of a reality, an integrated part of the process and an inherent result of it.
As part of a balanced process we see the moments for celebration – changed lives. A person committing to the fellowship and reveling in new friendships and support structures. A person blossoming as they learn more about their faith. A person filled with joy as they discover how God has gifted them and calls them to serve in an area of passion. A person who is equipped to share their faith and is subsequently given the privilege of seeing another person pass from death to life – yet another person to be developed, have kingdom impact, and become a fully-devoted disciple, a fully-devoted worshipper of the King of Kings.
My passion is therefore multifold, but singular in purpose. My passion is vocationally being part of the greatest institution ever established – the Church. My passion is to see that Church balanced correctly in order to foster that greatest of end results – the maximization of God’s glory through a variety of peoples worshipping Him.