Passion is like a mighty current that causes a river to flow into the ocean or the rushing wind that drives the clouds across the sky. Passion moves. Passion produces. Passion brings forth fruit. Passion is the soul becoming one with purpose, the heart and mind becoming transformed by the revelation of God’s Word and will. Passion empowers believers to bring forth the destiny God ordained for them. And the kingdom of God can only manifest through the passion of born-again, Spirit-filled believers.
Passion is ignited by revelation of God and His kingdom. When we seek first the kingdom of God, we desire God’s mind and heart for our lives. As He reveals His heart and mind for our lives, passion for Him and His kingdom begins to blaze inside us. When He reveals the works and responsibilities He has assigned us, we must keep our passion for God’s kingdom in order to fulfill our divine destiny. Our passion for the kingdom is fueled by our passion for what God has called us to be and do. Likewise, our passion for what God has called us to be and do fuels our passion for the kingdom. There f o re, it is essential for us to know our position and function in God’s kingdom—passionately.
When we consider the work and responsibility that is involved in the enhancement and the development of the kingdom, we cannot negate the necessity for human involvement and responsibility. This involves the spreading of Jesus’ message that the kingdom of God has come, that it is with us and among us, and that we must be born again to enter and see it. In many cases human involvement and responsibility go without challenge because too often we do not understand our image, purpose, direction, or destiny. It is in the image of God, in the imago dei, that God created us (see Gen. 1:26). The image is the very characteristic of God’s nature. In Genesis 1:26, the Hebrew word translated “image” is the Hebrew word tselem.1 However, in the New Testament, “image” comes from the Greek word eikon, which means the character of God.2 It appears that God’s original design for humanity was for our image to be a partaker of His divine character and nature. While there are many characteristics that are ascribed to the very nature of God, such as, holiness, sovereignty, and omnipotence, there is no characteristic that stands out more profoundly for me than the characteristic of a God who is always on some assignment. If it is difficult for you to imagine God on an assignment, see God passionately on an assignment through Jesus Christ.
The passion assignment of Christ is so real and relevant that in many instances of the New Testament, we see a Christ who is determined about accomplishing what others perceive as trivial. In John 4:34 He reveals to the disciples His assignment, which is twofold: 1) to do the will of God who sent Him, and 2) to finish the work. For example, before Jesus meets the woman at the well, John 4:4 states, “And he must needs go through Samaria.” The key word is “need.” It declares that Jesus didn’t just happen to go through Samaria because he wanted to but because he needed to. He didn’t just go through Samaria because He thought it was a pretty place to see or because He lacked other ways to get to where he was going. The Holy Spirit was firmly directing His path. The need became very clear when He met the woman at the well. She needed Jesus to minister to her and save her. Then she received the same passion that compelled Jesus to go to Samaria, and God used her to preach the gospel to her entire city.
Another instance of need is when the time came for Jesus to offer Himself as a sacrifice. The week of His crucifixion, also known as Passion or Holy Week, began on Palm Sunday with Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on an ass.
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. Mark 11:1-3
Why did Jesus need to ride into Jerusalem on an ass? He had come to fulfill the messianic prophecies like this one in the book of Zechariah.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. Zechariah 9:9
This prophetic verse of Scripture explicitly declares that the Messiah will ride into Jerusalem on an ass, not a camel and not on the shoulders of others. Jesus needed an ass to do the will of His Father and fulfill prophecy. This appeared to be a small, trivial matter to those not familiar with the messianic prophecies, but it was a vital necessity to Jesus.
Kingdom assignment begins with a need. While in many instances we do not like to see God being in need of anything, the truth of the matter is that He needs us to do His will just as He needed Jesus to do His will. God has need of us. I think this is illustrated profoundly in Isaiah, the 6th chapter, when God sanctified the tongue of Isaiah.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:8
Clearly there is a task that God needs done, and Isaiah volunteers to do it. And the reference to “us” is in reference to God and Isaiah. It is simply an expression of a desire that both God and Isaiah had. We know that Isaiah had the same desire as God because no conversion ever happens without one taking on the desires of God. Perhaps this is why Isaiah says in Isaiah 48:16, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I; and I the Lord God and His Spirit have sent me.” Though God had the desire, He needed somebody to go for Him, so Isaiah said, “Here am I; send me.”
Picture a husband and wife reading in bed, and one says to the other, “Honey, I have a taste for some cold ice cream.” The other says, “Honey, I do as well.” Then they both look at each other and say, “Who’s going to get it?” After a brief debate, one gives in and says, “I’ll go.” In other words, “Here am I; send me.” Like God and Isaiah, both have a desire but only one goes to fulfill it.
Developing passion for your kingdom assignment begins with these two concepts: a “need” and “Here am I; send me.” So many times we think that our assignment has to be at a lofty level of preaching, teaching, and working miracles. But our assignment begins when we detect a need in our family, church, community, the company where we work, the school we attend, or a relationship we have. We are often distracted by the grander things of life and overlook the small areas of need that are our kingdom assignment for that moment. Our kingdom assignment is simply discovering what is needed right where we are.
In Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul the apostle prayed for the church in Ephesus to know the hope of their calling or vocation. P. T. Forsyth says that “Christianity is the perfect religion…not the perfect religion in the sense of being revealed as finished, rounded , or symmetrical…but it holds up a perfect ideal that every one is called and each one is called to it (Christianity). It is a religion that issues from the perfect One, and returns to His perfection . ”3
The need that God gives you passion for is the explicit assignment that He is calling you to fulfill. What drives you, gets your adrenaline going, and brings excitement to your life is probably your kingdom assignment. For example, one of my senior members who retired as a van driver for an airport shuttle service came to me and said, “Pastor, I love to drive, and I have been driving for the airport for years. Now I’m retired and I want to drive for the church.” Then he said, “I want to use my time driving senior members to the drug store, grocery store, to pay bills, anywhere they want to go except the shopping mall, because pastor, me and the mall just don’t get along.” He started that ministry, and he loves it and the senior members do too. The need that gets your blood flowing with excitement indicates what your assignment is.
Whether your assignment is something others are already doing or something of unique design, it is your assignment. It is the need you have been called by God to fill. It is time for you to possess and take proper ownership of the vocation and call that God has deposited in your spirit to do. There is always a senior citizen in the community or in your church who needs a ride somewhere. There is always a child who needs a mentor, and your kingdom assignment may be to guide, motivate, and help them with issues such as self-esteem, goal setting, schoolwork, and peer pressure. Your church may need you in the choir, as an usher, or as a Sunday school teacher. As a pastor, I can tell you that churches always need another van driver, another nursery worker, or another volunteer in the soup kitchen or in the prison ministry. Many great missionaries began in soup kitchens and many great preachers learn God’s compassion for people in prison ministry.
Finding kingdom assignments by discovering needs was put into practice in our church recently. I did a teaching series on “Networking Resources for the Kingdom,” and our members saw a need for utilizing the gifts and talents available in our congregation. A committee was organized to develop a membership resource manual that listed the gifts and talents of each member, from sewing clothes to repairing cars. Now, when a member needs to have something done, they consider another member in the church who has identified themselves as having this gift or talent or skill. More importantly, members found a way to connect their professions, hobbies, or areas of expertise with the kingdom.
Again, kingdom assignments are not at angelic levels and lofty heights but right where you are. Learn to discover a need and use what you have. Be a passionate, yielded vessel who says, “Here am I, Lord; send me.” Here is my challenge to you today.
• Identify at least three gifts or talents you operate in with ease and keen understanding.
• What can you do in your home, community, or church to use your gifts or talents?
• Seek an organization or auxiliary in your community that is doing the work that you have identified as your assignment. Network with or join that group and get the kingdom assignment done.