It is a very interesting question, and many Christian authors have addressed it. Gordon MacDonald contrasts to be driven with being called (1). He definitely has a point – a called person follows the Master; a driven person can run ahead of Him. God never drives anybody against their own will; however, I can be so ambitious on God’s behalf that it can wear me out. There is also something positive with having a drive. Rick Warren has written about the importance of being driven by a purpose (2).
Ten months ago I wrote about “Four factors influencing movement” and mentioned “Passion” as the first driving force. This week I have been studying Nehemiah and his leadership once again. The first quality I see in his leadership, is that he was driven by a passion.
When Nehemiah received the news that the Jews who had survived the exile and returned to Jerusalem were in great trouble and disgrace because of the state of the city, his heart was filled grief, but also with burning passion (3). With the passion, came a kind of conviction that this was now his responsibility. If you are passionate about something, you have to be involved yourself, you cannot sit and only watch others being involved. Genuine passion will drive me into action, and that is a good thing.
We find this passion in ground-breaking spiritual leaders. Passion drove Jesus to the cross. It made Paul write:
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.
In other words, Paul was willing to sacrifice his own salvation if it could save his own people. A similar passion can be seen in people like John Knox who prayed:“Give me Scotland, least I die”.
It made Catherine Booth cry: “Never!” when the leaders of the church put restrictions on William’s ministry. It made the old William Booth proclaim in his last sermon: “I will fight to the very end!”
‘Manna’ for today:
I want to be driven by my passion for Jesus
(1) Gordon MacDonald: “Ordering your private world”
(2) Rick Warren: “Purposedriven Life” & “Purposedriven Church”
(3) Nehemiah 1:4