By Billy Walker
If you’ve ever watched a baseball game, you’re likely familiar with the phrase, “Just a bit outside.” Announcers use this phrase to describe a pitch that just missed the strike zone.
On the replay, viewers can see just how close such pitches come to being strikes. But sure enough, they’re just ever-so-slightly outside the zone.
The best hitters in the game have to learn to hit such deliveries because pitches rarely come right down the middle. Hitters have to make the most of pitches that come just a little outside their sweet spot.
This is a principle that also applies outside of sport of baseball. Any interest you pursue with great passion will take you at least a bit outside your comfort zone. A touch outside of your ability. Maybe even a little bit outside of your vision.
All Passion Comes With a Price.
When looking to make a purchase, we often ask, “how much?” If the price is too high, we might try to bargain to bring the cost down a bit. We try to bring the price into our comfort zone.
But there’s a price for passion, and we have to be willing to pay it. The youngest generations right now are looking for something worth giving everything to. If we can’t give them that, they’ll be tempted to not give anything at all.
I wonder if—as a parent, a pastor, as one who professes Jesus as Lord and Savior—I’m giving those coming behind me an example of passionate living and passionate loving?
If not, there’s no better time than now to make that a priority. With the summer season upon us, what will you pursue with passion?
Will it be something that lasts—something to be handed down to those coming along behind you—or will it be something you’ll have forgotten by the end of 2019?
Purposeful passion takes us just a little outside of our comfort zone.
There’s no passion without persistence.
Do you know some of the greatest Hall of Fame hitters in baseball have led the league in strikeouts?
Now, what would have happened if, after whiffing on their last at-bat, these players had given up and gone back to the dugout, never to return to the batter’s box? They’d never have gone on to have had the successful careers they did.
They’d never have hit that record-breaking home run, or knocked in the winning run, or led the league in RBIs. Their persistence drove their passion, and their passion drove their persistence.
We see an example of this in an Old Testament story about Elijah—a prophet who learned the importance of persistence.
In 1 Kings 18:41-46, Elijah predicted rain would fall for the first time in years. He told the king he’d better head for shelter before it came and was then persistent enough to send his servant out to look for what God had promised over and over again.
Seven times Elijah sent his servant to look for impending weather. But for six times, there was nothing.
On the seventh trip, however, there was a cloud—just a small cloud, but a cloud, nonetheless. And Elijah knew his persistence had paid off; God was keeping His promise.
Don’t Give Up.
How many of us pursue something with passion, only to not have desired results happen right away, and we then give up? We give up on others; we give up on ourselves and, to be honest, we sometimes give up on God.
How much do we lose out on because we don’t remember the price for passion is persistence?
Don’t give up on that ministry. Don’t give up on that family. Don’t give up on repairing that relationship. Don’t give up on being a witness. Don’t give up on your marriage. Don’t give up on overcoming that addiction.
Keep going back to look for God’s provision. At some point, a cloud will appear to let you know the promise of God is fast approaching.
BILLY WALKER (@billyhwalker) is a third generation pastor of Calvary Church in Southgate, Michigan. He’s vice president of the Billy Walker Evangelistic Association and is president of the Pastor’s Conference for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.