The first sermon I preached in this church was titled: “What Happens if the Fire Goes Out?” This question related to what would happen to us and to the church if we let the fire of the Holy Spirit diminish. I talked about how our relationship with God is often described in terms of fiery images of the Spirit burning inside us and how that fire is passion – us for God and God for us. I also talked about the way fire creates hot air that lifts balloons aloft and – if the fire is allowed to go out – the balloon will surely crash to the ground. Likewise, if we allow the fire of the Holy Spirit – the passion of God – to go out in us, then our faith will surely crash.
Jeremiah speaks of this holy fire. You may recall that Jeremiah was very young when God filled him with holy passion. For Jeremiah, the passion he felt was a fire that came directly from God and could not be extinguished. Even if he tried to avoid accepting God’s call, the fiery passion would still be there. Even if he tried to avoid sharing God’s word with others, that fire would burst forth because it simply could not be contained.
This is what we are talking about when we claim “passion for the harvest.” It is the idea that our relationship with God is so solid and so vital to us that we have no choice but to reflect that relationship and share it with others. God’s passion grows so intense within us that we couldn’t hold it in, even if we wanted to. Our passion for the harvest cannot be contained.
Jesus told Zaccheus, “I have come to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) It has always been God’s desire that all people would be reconciled to him. Jesus came to meet the lost and offer them the life-changing hope of the gospel. His work continues today with us as his messengers. Jesus’ passion must become our passion as we share the fire that burns within our hearts.
[Acknowledgement: Transformational Leadership Forum, Christian to the Core: Eight Core Values of the Most Effective Christians.]