The Greatest Passion We Can Pursue

It’s very popular nowadays to talk about finding your passion in life. There are numerous posts about it, such as:

How to Find Your Passion
6 Fresh Ways to Find Your Passion
Find Your Passion With These 8 Thought-Provoking Questions

There are quizzes and tests to help you find your passion, as well as numerous quotes about its importance:

“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.” –Donovan Bailey

“You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.” — Sabrina Bryan

The Apostle Paul had one burning passion in life. Only he didn’t find his passion. He wasn’t even looking for it. His passion found him. Paul’s passion found him one day and knocked him off his horse in a blazing light. That passion was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ called Paul, saved him, and changed his life forever. Paul would never be the same.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. (PHP 1:21-23)

Paul didn’t live for success, material gain or the approval of others. “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” If God let him live, he wanted to bear as much fruit for Jesus as he could. He didn’t say, “Man if I get out of this prison, I’m going to kick back and take it easy.” No, he said, “If I get out of here I’m going to keep sharing the gospel and keep encouraging my fellow believers however I can.” He says My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. This was the goal of Paul’s life. This is what he was living for – to be with Christ for all eternity. To gaze on Christ’s beauty. To be eternally satisfied and filled with joy in Christ’s presence.

Steve Murphy was a wonderful pastor in our church and member for many years. I knew him since he was around 19 or 20 till he died at age 49. He was a great husband and Dad, and he would never have wanted to leave his family. But sadly he got a brain tumor. As he was going through a number treatments one day he got a note and gift from a friend, Dave. This is how Steve responded to Dave:

Dave, I can’t write or talk very well at the moment but I wanted to thank you for the note and the gift.

As for my soul, it is well. I can’t wait for heaven! With each treatment, I look forward to my graduation day! If the Lord keeps me here longer, I’m content. But I can’t wait!


Steve had Paul’s passion for Christ. He couldn’t wait to be with him.

My Mom had Alzheimer’s disease the last 7 years of her life, and when she was initially diagnosed, she said to me and her family, “When I die, don’t be sad! Celebrate! Because I will be with Jesus!”

A couple years ago, Bob, another long time member of our church got cancer. He didn’t want to leave his wife or their children and grandchildren, but one day after my fellow pastors and I prayed for the Lord to heal him he said to us, “You know what? Either way, I win.” When we know Jesus, if we die, we win. Paul said that’s infinitely better. But if we live, we also win – we still get to go on serving Jesus.

Heaven is not going to be boring. One look at the face of Christ and we’ll be smitten for 10,000 years. Heaven is going to make the glories of this world look like a pig sty. When we get to heaven and see the infinite glory of Jesus we’ll say why did I care so much about worldly things? Why did I spend so much time pursuing them?

I want Paul’s passion for Christ. Let’s pray he will fill us with that deep longing to be with him and bear fruit for him.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.