In recent days, some commentators have criticized President Barack Obama for his “lack of passion.” One even cited the President’s response to an interview question about whether he might be a one term President. The President answered that if the voters chose to turn him out of office, he would still have his family and a good life. To the person citing this statement, the response showed his lack of passion for the office and the upcoming campaign.
I often encourage people to discover and follow their passion—the thing that gives them energy and makes them want to get up in the morning. At the same time, we cannot live by our passion alone or give in to uncontrolled passions or desires. We must also take into account our values and beliefs. Unbridled passion leads to error, moral failure, and destruction.
The Message translates Matthew 5:5 in this way: "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.”
When we discover our passion in life, we truly discover who we are and where we should invest ourselves, but this is tempered by our understanding of who God has made us to be. If we attempt to be anything else, we will be miserable in life. Passion is not an end in itself; it is the means to an end. Pursuing one’s passion requires commitment, discipline, and discernment.
Going back to the opening illustration, perhaps being a one term President isn’t so bad. Jimmy Carter seems to have done quite well after only one term and has pursued his passion to help people who cannot help themselves. I would be happy if President Obama has a second term, but if he does not, his life and service are not over.