Friday, December 12, 2014

Passion: Wasting Talent {Part 1 of 2}

There was quite a bit of "buzz" in the Christian sphere a few years ago about the importance of having a "passion." At the time, I attended high school and college, and I remember expecting {and receiving} this question multiple times by a number of very well-meaning people: "Have you found something you're passionate about?" Or, the variation when I explained what I {thought} my career would be: "As long as God has given you a passion for it, that's great!"

I admit, I've caught myself saying something similar at times to others... and suffering from the guilty conscience that resulted.

I think this idea of a "passion" is usually well-meant: We mean that if God puts a desire in your heart for a goal or work, that's probably His stamp of approval on it. We mean that if God gives a particular talent, "dream," or ability to us, we should spend all of our energy on doing everything possible to make that God-given "passion" flare into life.

It makes sense, doesn't it? After all, why would God permit us to have a gift, a vision, a goal... and not want us to exploit it to the fullest of our abilities? Especially if we are doing it "for Him?"

But that puts the focus where it shouldn't be - on us and on that desire - and makes us miss the true point of our lives: to be a living sacrifice in whatever area God places us in, regardless of whether we "feel" a passion for it.

At one time, I felt deep regret that I was not doing what I was "passionate" about... what I had been told by accomplished  professionals that I was "gifted" in... what I built altars to in my heart and worshiped. That dissatisfaction poisoned the joy that I had in serving God where He had chosen to place me at that time.

I regret that regret, that discontent, that feeling that "my" talent was being wasted.

For it wasn't wasted. It was no more wasted than Jesus' probable skill in carpentry was "wasted"
when He set aside his hammer and awl, took up the staff of a wanderer with no place to lay His head, and became a theological teacher, an occupation for which the men of His day declared Him dismally unqualified {John 8:41}. It was no more wasted than Jesus' Kingship in heaven was wasted when He took on human flesh and became filled with the holy zeal of redemption.

No more wasted than Oswald Chamber's distinct artistic talent was "wasted" when he refused a European art scholarship and instead went to teach at an insignificant seminary... for years.

No more wasted than Amy Carmichael's gift of teaching was "wasted" when she decided to go as a missionary to India instead of staying to further her significant ministry to the slum-girls in Ireland.

No more wasted than Adoniram Judson's first wife Ann, who poured out her life in Burma for a few short years before slipping into an early grave. I wonder, what gifts - what talents - what passions did Ann Judson have? What "good things" did she plunge the knife into and kill on the altar of her heart?

For God will have no rivals for our affections, for our life's purpose. For our passion.

He - He alone - must become our life's Purpose - our Affection - "our Exceedingly Great Reward." {Genesis 15:1}

The point of our lives is, so very simply, Christ, isn't it?  As Paul says, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." {Philippians 3:10}

And the Psalmist: "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple." {Psalm 27:4}

A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears,
Made of a heart and cemented with tears;
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman's tool hath touch'd the same.
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy pow'r doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame
To praise thy name.
That if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease.
Oh, let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine.

- George Herbert {emphasis his}

Food for Thought: How does this play out in your life, dear reader? Do you have a "passion" you have allowed to become the focus of your life?

Next Week: Part 2 of Passion - When God Gives the Desire and Other Thoughts

I might share this post with these blogs: Strangers and Pilgrims, The Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Yes They Are All Ours, Missional Call, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every SeasonA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Messy Marriage, My Teacher's Name is Mama, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Homestead Lady, Deborah Jean's Dandelion House, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Count My Blessings, Beauty Observed, Christian Mommy Blogger, Serenity You, Renewed Daily, Sunday Stillness, The Beauty in His Grip, Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom.


  1. Oh Amen, Alicia! This is beautiful. And so true. And so helpful to me right now.
    Thank you so much!!

    1. I'm glad, Raechel. :-) Yes, I need to be reminded of this myself again and again!

  2. I have to admit this made me tear up Alicia! It was a reminder I needed for sure because last year God placed on my heart then my husband's that we would be (as we are saying) "undercover missionaries" to my husband's homeland, Cambodia. The vision and dreams God has placed on both of our hearts has fueled my passion to go whenever He says it's time, but I confess that I struggle with living in the now. God has reminded me numerous times that time is not wasted here while we wait to go to Cambodia, but it is a time of growing (even if I'm not feeling the passion). Thank you for letting God remind me once again that I don't need to let my passion for Cambodia consume me that I forget how God is wanting to use me just where I am! Great post!

    1. Thanks, Laura -- I'm glad it was a blessing to you... May the Lord fulfill all your purposes!

  3. Good points, Alicia!!! There is no wasting in His perfect plan! Simply because He gives abundantly doesn't mean that He hasn't chosen the most important part of us, and that some good things aren't meant to take center stage.

    1. I agree, Elizabeth. Thanks for dropping by! :-)

  4. I enjoyed your blog. A good answer to your question at the end I don't have. Sometimes I it feels I have just the shards of my life in your hands. Yet, deep in my heart my focus is on Him. Jesus. And I really wants to spread His light in the lives of the readers of my books and my blogs.

    1. That's the most important thing, isn't it, Jedidja, anyway? You remind me of what C.S. Lewis said: "Once the feet are set right, everything else will [eventually] follow." May the Lord use you mightily for His glory.

  5. Beautiful words, Alicia! So true that our ultimate passion should just be Jesus in and of Himself. :)

    1. Thanks, Jennifer - Sometimes, I need to remind myself out-loud. :-) Thanks for stopping by.


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