Today’s post was submitted by Meghan Gross, who is a Church Leadership major at LaGrange College and recently completed an Internship in Pastoral Leadership at Christ Community Church.
I love the Irwins. I love their kindness, their work with conservationism, their energy and love for life, and the adorable animals they work with. While I couldn’t find the specific quote, I remember watching an interview where Steve and Terri Irwin explained that they believe the greatest gift you can give your kids is your passion. If you are passionate about something, they will be too.
There are countless videos of them introducing their kids to animals, encouraging them and teaching them about the animals, and displaying great passion for their work. Their kids have followed suit. They reflect their parents in so many ways, with the same intense passion for wildlife. They even willingly decided to take over the zoo and continue their father’s wildlife preservation legacy following his passing. Their children are intensely passionate about animals, just as their parents were, and their parents’ advice rang true.
They have also impacted me personally. Although I have always loved animals, my love for animals, especially baby animals, has grown so much as a result of watching the Irwins and seeing their passion for wildlife. Yet I’m just one of countless people who became passionate about wildlife because of the Irwins’ passion for wildlife. Displaying passion to your children and sharing your passion with them can lead to them exhibiting the same passion.
When I preached for the first time, one of our pastors told me, “Read the Word of God with passion. It’s okay if they forget your words – what you ultimately want them to remember is what God’s Word says.” It was in that moment that I drew the two ideas together. Whether it’s our own kids, our friends and families, our coworkers, or someone we’re discipling, the best gift we can give someone is passion for the Word of God. That makes them want to know Jesus or grow closer to Jesus as they see that playing out in our quiet times with the LORD, the way that we speak about Him to others, and the way that we passionately live out His commandments every day.
This isn’t a guaranteed promise. I have friends that I passionately share God’s Word with, but they aren’t as passionate about following Jesus, even as Christians. Some parents are passionately following Jesus, but their kids rebel. But having passion does impact people. Speaking from personal experience, people do notice when you are passionately following Jesus, and it is a massive encouragement to them. And speaking about God’s Word indifferently doesn’t attract people to the Gospel. We have to show the world why they should be passionate about God and His Word by displaying our own passion and allowing it to consume us and God to change us through it.
It’s important to ask ourselves these questions when we are speaking about God’s Word: How much excitement do I have when I speak about God’s Word with others? How do I think this impacts their view of the Bible?