[Calvary Chapel] 2001-08-30 - Passion Embodied

Col 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (NAS)

I recently caught the last 15 minutes of a presentation by the Berlin Philharmonic featuring Itzak Perlman on the violin. I have an appreciation for violin music and I am familiar with Mr. Perlman's work and his ability. He is easily among the best concert violinists in the world. As the final movement was building to a climax, Perlman looked up at the director as he played with a smile that showed the pure joy of the moment he was feeling as the music flowed from the collected players. He did this while continuing to play at a brisk pace. I stopped in amazement to think of the complexity of his movements to produce the quality music from his violin while dividing his attention even momentarily.

As the concert was concluded the audience immediately stood to its feet in thundering applause. Mr. Perlman nodded in acknowledgement as he reached for his crutches to stand. As some of you know, Itzak Perlman was stricken with polio as child and can not walk without the aid of crutches. He acknowledged the crowd with the director and they both shared the recognition with the entire orchestra. Mr. Perlman was called back twice by the applause that would not stop.

To reach that astounding level of performance requires something beyond practice and ability. It requires passion. Practice and ability are needed, but many practice and have a God-given talent for something and it never develops to the degree of the Itzak Perlman's of the world. The reason we are astounded or impressed by this kind of performance is not that it is unattainable, but that so few actually do attain it. In a few instances, a fire ignites in the heart and mind of an individual like Itzak Perlman, or Mother Theresa, or Billy Grahman, or Martina Navratilova - passion.

I may never forget that smile. It spoke of the reward to the heart and soul of the man who had worked so hard to be able to do something to the very best of his ability. But it was more than even that. The playing was no longer work, but expression. It was an out pouring of his interpretation of the master work he was performing. It can be the same for any of us who know Jesus Christ. The more we learn of His work and passion on our behalf, the more He draws us to know more of Him. It is a cycle that feeds on itself and becomes a passion of its own to the heart of the disciple. The joy comes in knowing beyond a doubt that you are on the right path, that you are bound for an amazing and joyous eternity, that you have been saved from your own willfulness and inability to do anything to help yourself and that passion to share the love and joy born our of that gratitude. It is security beyond the ability of anyone or anything to change your mind, knowledge beyond denying of a Savior that died to set you free.

Does the world get excited to see this? Not often. More often they are confused and disturbed, even angered. But they are not the ones that hold your reward. To hear the Father say, "Well done good and faithful servant.", will be worth it all.

Rev 22:12-14 "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. (NAS)

Grace & Peace,