In 2 Corinthians 5:14, the Apostle Paul tells us that it is the “love of God that controls us.” The love of God was the source of Paul’s passion in ministry and it is to be the source of all that we do in the church.
Our passion cannot come from love of correct doctrine. We are not to be motivated by obligation. A desire for societal reform (however necessary) is not to control us. Our actions cannot be fueled by a desire to be seen doing the right thing. The one and only correct source of passion for ministry is the love of God.
There is something to be said in support of being obedient, even when I don’t feel like it. But, that obedience must be fueled by love that has been poured into my heart by God. Otherwise, that obedience will end in resentment or Pharisaic pride.
Anything other than God’s love, if given control of us, will feed our inner Pharisee and the result will be legalism and bondage. Why is this the case? It is so because any motivation other than a response to the love of God will become idolatry.
If you have been in church for any length of time, you’ve heard the pleas regarding staffing of various church programs, using guilt to motivate people into service. Or, perhaps you have run into self appointed doctrine police who are ready, willing and able to make sure that you are completely correct in your interpretation of Scripture. At the other extreme are those who make an idol out of inclusiveness and ignore the bits of Scripture that confront society in a quest to be relevant to the surrounding culture.
But, we are not called to worship doctrine. We are not called to worship church organization or programs. We are not called to embrace the norms of society.
We are called to the mission of loving God and loving our neighbors. But as John reminds us in 1 John 4:19, our love for God and neighbor is in response to the love that God has demonstrated to us.
The love of God is the only proper source of passion for ministry.