Passion’s Haunting Question by Travis Sharpe

When I first started helping the homeless way back in the mid 90’s, I was so intrigued and excited about it all that I didn’t really stop to think much about it. I was busy passing out gospel tracts, providing clothes and hygeine products and just basically loving people to the best of my ability.

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But after several months a question began to nag at the back of my mind. Actually, this question haunted me for a few years. This question in my mind caused a point of hesitation and caused me to second guess myself time and time again. I can remember several times when it was late at night and it would enter into my mind, messing with the very foundation of my new found passion.

Whose Idea Was This?

The question that haunted me was, whose idea was all of this anyway?

Now that may not sound like much of a haunting question to some people but when you are a young Bible College student and then you are a young married couple who is starting your life’s work, it’s a BIG question.

One of the things that was constantly discussed at Bible College (and at church) was the calling of God. A lot of importance was placed upon working in the ministry that God has called you to and to be honest I was totally unsure if God had called me to help the homeless or if it was just some hair-brained idea I had.

One day I was sure that God had called me and the next day I was unsure. What if I was just enjoying being a nice guy to these people? What if I was just happy to hear the occasional “good job” given by my fellow church members? What if I had grown addicted to the feeling I got when I did something good for a complete stranger?

See my problem? Have you ever questioned yourself as you followed your passion? Has someone ever said something that may have been unintentional on their part but it caused you to second guess everything you were doing? Okay, glad I’m in good company!

My game changer

I was able to push these questions aside throughout Bible College because my new passion was just a part of my life. I had a regular job, college and other things to help fill my time. But when I graduated college and it was time to answer my ministry calling the questions became much louder.

By faith, I surrendered to the call (I hoped it was a calling anyway) to be a missionary to the homeless in 1999. My wife and I were accepted with a mission agency and we began to travel to churches and raise our support. The question continued to haunt me and I always wondered in the back of my mind whither this was all my doing or if God had really called me.

I knew it was a dream in my heart. I knew I was passionate about it. I knew I enjoyed it. I knew it was a good thing. But I didn’t know for sure if God had called me. Now that I was committing to this in a full time way I wasn’t able to simply push the questions aside. They demanded answers.

God has dreams too!

One morning during my devotion time I came across an interesting verse in the book of Nehemiah. In chapter 7 and verse 5, Nehemiah stated that his God had “put in his heart” to reckon the people by genealogy. My mind went immediately to Romans 7:18 where the Apostle Paul said that “In me dwelt no good thing.”

In that moment the Lord impressed upon my heart that “God has dreams too.” I realized that none of this had ever been my idea. The only thing in me that would even remotely desire to want to give the gospel to complete strangers and help people who cannot help me back had to be God!

I realized I didn’t even have the capability to love people without the Lord putting that love into my heart.

The dreams and passion I had to build a ministry and reach the homeless were actually not my dreams at all, they were just on loan from God. They were his dreams.

This realization literally changed the way I thought about everything and it caused the questions to be no more. I finally knew once and for all that I was right where I was supposed to be. I was called by God and living out the dream he had placed in my heart.

How about you?

Are you questioning what God has called you to do? If it’s something self-serving and self-centered then you may have cause to doubt. But if you are trying your best to bring glory to God and reach people on his behalf, chances are you are right where he wants you to be.
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