By Anthony Casperson
Last Saturday, one of the players in my D&D game asked me what I get out of playing the game. He was questioning why I’m willing to put in hours of time preparing for storylines and plots that might not come to fruition. Why do I create maps upon maps that might not ever come to be used? (And that night proved that over half of my maps would not see the light of day.)
Why suffer the seeming waste of time when I have sooooo many other things that I’m doing?
My answer at first was, “Because creating worlds and characters is fun for me.” But having time to think it over some more, I would say that I spend time preparing for these sessions because I desire to share these worlds and characters with others who can enjoy them as well. I’m willing to suffer this role of DM because I desire to share the things I create with others.
The question of what I get out the many things I do haunted me throughout the week even beyond D&D. I thought about what I get out of writing blogs and sermons. What do I get out of preaching and editing the audio recordings? Why do I agonize over word choice, story, and application when it comes to these things?
I struggle with these things because I desire to see God work through me and the words he gives. I have a passion for biblical truth and want to share it with others. I endure so that others might come to the truth as well.
As these thoughts rolled around my head this week, I decided to write about passion. Not the sexual chemistry that fogs up windows, but the desire that makes us do incredibly strange things. Those types of things that make other ask, “What do you even get out of doing this?”
So, I started by looking at the word passion. What does it mean? And what did it mean in its original language? There were two definitions that I found. First, “a strong and barely controllable emotion.” It’s about a great desire and enthusiasm (and window fogging). But second, “the suffering of Christ on the cross.”
I looked at these two definitions and asked how they could relate to one another.
That’s when I discovered that the word “passion” comes from a Latin root that means “to suffer.” So, suffering has to be the direction that we view for every connotation of the word.
Then it hit me.
Passion is when we desire something so much that we are willing to suffer for it. We’re willing to pay whatever the cost to make our desires reality. Our enthusiasm, our emotions overflow out of our desires even if it costs us our very lives.
And this is what Jesus did on the cross. God’s love, his desire for relationship with us, his passion to be with his creation, caused him to join creation and die for us. His death, burial and resurrection, the suffering that he endured, the passion of the cross was the visible manifestation of the price he was willing to pay to fling wide his arms so that we can have a relationship with him.
We are truly passionate about the things for which we are willing to suffer. What are we willing to suffer for the one who suffered passionately for us?