Passion is highly revered and sought after in our culture. We often clamor around the loudest and most passionate voice. We are astounded by a great idea and initial tenacity. The problem is that can be very misleading to us in regards to reality.
Reality says that a passionate couple who fizzles out after a couple of years at marriage has failed. Reality says that a church plant which begins with great advertising out of the gate, but fails to maintain longterm discipleship has failed. Reality says that a scientist passionate about curing a disease has to maintain focus for years, decades, probably a lifetime to make ONE difference in their field. Reality says that a teen sensation in the music world won’t make it past their 20th birthday as a rockstar if they don’t work on their craft with due diligence.
The reality is that passion gets you started, but amounts to snapshot success (at best) without perseverance.
Four years ago Jeff Welk, one of our launch team pastors at the time, spoke on the fact that it takes seven years for grapes to produce an appropriate crop. I can remember relating that philosophy to our church plant and thinking, “Dear God, We’ve been working SO hard for a year. What if we don’t come to full fruition for another SIX years?” Now I realize that the same passion that got us started must be maintained in us, not for six years, but for about sixty if we are truly to see the success of North Creek. It’s not about initial numbers, but rather a lifetime of people living for Jesus and passing that torch to the next generation of Christ-followers. THAT is our measure of success.
On one hand, it’s daunting. The inertia that it took to get this far is mind-numbing! On the other hand, there is comfort in the idea of persevering. We can look wholistically at our lives and our calling knowing that God doesn’t need us to do everything He asked of us in one day, but rather in one lifetime.
The key is to maintain both sides with balance and patience. If we are lacking passion, we need to eliminate the things in our lives that are getting in the way of our desires and dreams that God has for us. If we are lacking perseverance, we need to reevaluate our expectations and allow God to birth in our hearts longevity. Passion + Perseverance = Success. That’s the only way it works.