I had a pleasant visit recently reconnecting with some dear friends. One of them said “you have such a humorous view on life, you should write a blog.” Well, I have been for over a year. Reviewing the posts on this site caused me to ponder about what I have been writing. Have I been true to my own personality? I am a passionate man. Simple to say and complicated to understand. Any passionate person can understand the balancing act of finding great delight and frustration about the same incidents. You see, the weak side of passion is anger. If I were to eradicate my anger than I would not have passion. The same is true of me about humor. My wife once asked me if it was possible to take on any project without making a joke about it. The answer is probably not. Along with finding humor in life I am also passionate about teaching, which is why I write a blog. There is both a serious and a funny side of me.
There are people written about in the bible that were also passionate. One of them was John the Baptist. You can read about him in all four gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), as well as referenced in the book of Acts. He was also predicted in the book of Isaiah.
John the Baptist had an unusual style of dress. He wore garments made of camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. His nazirite lifestyle leads me to believe he would have had long hair and beard. John also made his home in the dessert away from society. His choice of food was locust and wild honey. It is easy for me to imagine him riding a Harley with ape-hangar handle bars if he lived in modern times. I can envision him rolling down the road with the radio blasting. Or maybe walking along a river shouting “repent, for the time is near.” Most likely today people would mistake him for one of those homeless people that go around shouting bible verses. There was no mistaking his purpose during his lifetime. John could not help but call out the sins of the people. He had passion and was filled with the Holy Spirit since before birth. John was always honest about himself. His life purpose was to prepare others for the coming Messiah.
Although John did not consider himself worthy to be the Lord’s servant, Jesus called him the greatest man that ever lived. Luke 7:24 After John’s disciples left, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”
It is okay to be passionate but it is best to allow the Holy Spirit to guide that passion. Like John the Baptist we, as Christians, are called to prepare the way for others to accept Christ and his path to peace. Find encouragement in the words of Jesus. It does not matter how great your life turns out because being in the Kingdom of Heaven will make you greater than any life lived on earth.
Rev. Burt Schwab