At an early age, I was already aware of my love for computing, and everything I did was geared towards that end. I studied relevant subjects in school, and jumped at the opportunity to go for an interview at an IT firm, landing a job before I graduated from university. You could say I was passionate about it, to the point that it characterized all my decisions in life.
So, it would be natural to think that after working in the industry for 10 years, I would go on to greater heights, armed with a passion that would fuel the IT career I had envisioned for myself.However, the truth is, after 10 years, my feelings towards my field of work waned.
Pitted against frustrations stemming from the client-based nature of my work, my passion and drive for my career dried up over time, and I eventually moved on to other areas of work outside the field of IT.
While it can’t be discounted that people do have passions that continue on for a lifetime (Steve Job and Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Apple and Facebook respectively, are cases in point), it wasn’t the case for me. With passion gone, I found myself asking: What then can drive me each and every day? What am I missing?
Recently, I found myself chatting with my pastor on this very topic. We were talking about why he continues pressing on in his ministry, reaching out to young people who do not even reply to his text messages.
We talked about the apostle Paul and what drove him to do what he did, spreading the gospel far and wide till the day he died. In spite of the many trials he suffered along the way, Paul continued to persevere in speaking God’s Word in every place he went. Never once did he steer from the course God had given him. Every time I read Romans 9:3-4, I thought, Paul must have had such limitless drive and passion!
But this time, as I considered Paul’s words, I thought of the many times his trials should have stopped him, the “winds” of passion that should have died off—and yet he kept going. It then struck me that he wasn’t motivated by my idea of “passion”.
Paul made an amazing statement about what fueled him in Romans 9:3-4. He said, “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”.
Here, Paul shared that he would rather be cursed and cut off from Christ, all for “the sake of my people”. My pastor shared that he persevered in his ministry for a similar reason. He said, “It’s not about me, it’s about helping others.”
This made me think that maybe, it isn’t passion that should drive us, but rather something else, something more. In his letter to Timothy, Paul stated, “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT).
It was gratitude for salvation that fueled Paul’s devotion and dedication to the cause of Christ. The love that Christ had shown on the cross that is the “passion” that drives him onward in demonstrating God’s love to others.
This has led me to realize that if we allow the Holy Spirit to help us turn our focus away from ourselves, then God will replace passion with something of more value—the motivation and joy of helping and encouraging others through what we do (even during the times when we do not feel like doing it).
There’s an old man who works in a warehouse I often pass by. He is probably in his mid-60s, and works as a forklift driver. Every day, he does his job without fail. Whenever I greet him, he says to me, “一天一天的过”, which loosely translated means, “taking it one day at a time.”
I do not know the actual reasons why he continues to do what he does, but seeing him do it every day inspires me to persevere in my current work. And perhaps that is all there is to it—to continue working every day, fueled not by mere passion, but by a mindset to bless others through it . . . be it financially blessing your family and loved ones, encouraging a person who passes you by every day, or just giving your very best at work to ensure things run smoother.
This could be as simple as asking your colleagues if you can pray for them, or inviting them to read something you found interesting in a Christian article. The important thing is to show God’s love to people around us.
There are of course times when helping others can wear us out, but that is if we take on their burdens and pains by ourselves. Thankfully, we are not alone, but have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we can share these burdens with through fellowship and prayer.
Therefore, let us take every opportunity to share with others our all-patient, ever present, loving and wonderful God, the salvation we have through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the family we have in Him.
No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, whether our passions have faded or we find ourselves lamenting the work we do, or even if we are poorly treated in our job, if we pattern our lives after Christ, loving and serving others, He will be the “fuel” that drives us to continue doing the things we do, in response to His love, and for the sake of others.
I am a Sailboat adrift
Lost from its mooring
Direction-less at sea
The winds are gone
The sea is calm
What am I to do?
Hands to my oars
He drives me on each day
Till my sights on the farthest shores
Such joy, for my Savior is with me
Journeying through the deepest seas
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Workplace Realities. Check out the next article in the series, “3 Tips to Survive a Toxic Work Environment” here!