I know a lot of people who are passionate about something positive- adoption, encouraging others, building up teens through theater, stopping children from being forced into prostitution, making sure families with low incomes have enough to eat, or helping people to be more environmentally conscious one energy efficient light-bulb at a time. And that is just a tiny handful of passions out there that are changing the world.
However, one problem I've seen in myself is my tendency to believe that my passions eclipse the desires of other people- as if there were a ranking of which passions are most valid. It could be quite easy for me to suggest, for example, that feeding starving children should absolutely be anyone's top priority- but if I took that to it's farthest end I would be saying that someone who helps troubled teens or spends their life trying to end racism would be wasting their time. Clearly that is not true.
Passions are by definition emotional- they bring with them strong feelings which are absolutely necessary to keep us dedicated to a cause. But I must be careful not to let those same emotions be a source of contempt for others with a different vision. Especially for those of us who claim to follow God- the Bible is quite clear that we are a body with different gifts for a reason.
I Corinthians 12: 15-20
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I really believe this applies to our God-given passions as well. If everyone were involved in ministering to prisoners, who would be taking care of orphans? If everyone were taking care of orphans, who would be looking out for environmental issues?
Even within passions, we will have disagreements. Take adoption, for example, which I am very passionate about. I have been so torn for so long with what is the "best" kind of adoption- which child needs the "most" help. That is the child I should adopt, right? But is it fair to say that? I could adopt a child overseas who may have otherwise grown up in extreme poverty, or I could adopt a child through the foster care system who otherwise would have had a life of unknowns and insecurities or worse- I could adopt a special needs child from China, or perhaps a perfectly healthy child from the United States. Clearly there are children from all those categories who NEED to be adopted...really- REALLY- is it fair for me to say that the way I'd like to adopt is the way everyone should adopt? No.
The important thing is that we focus on where our passions and gifts come from.
1 Corinthians 12:4
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
I know there could be abuses of this- but within reason if we are able to trust that God- that His Spirit gives gifts and passion to each for a reason- then we simply need to focus on what WE'VE been entrusted with. We don't need to look around at everyone else and try to police their passions. My More may not be your More. If it was...we'd be a pretty screwed up body.