“Go and gather all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die. So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.” – Esther 4:16-17
Living with passion and courage has become a rare commodity for the 21st century Christian. It all comes back to our love for God…or the lack of it. Deep and reckless devotion have given way to calculated and milk-toast commitment.
The call to Christian discipleship is a call to risky living. In our day, risk has been replaced by “reasonable” living. Rare in our day is the adventurous life and love of a trailblazing witness. Persuasion, on the part of the church, has been all but embalmed.
I read a story the other day that illustrates one of the single greatest principles of persuasion: People are far more persuaded by the depths of your beliefs and emotions than any amount of logic or knowledge you possess.
The famous New York diamond dealer Harry Winston heard about a wealthy Dutch merchant who was looking for a certain kind of diamond to add to his collection. Winston called the merchant, told him that he thought he had the perfect stone, and invited the collector to come to New York and examine it.
The collector flew to New York and Winston assigned a salesman to meet him and show the diamond. When the salesman presented the diamond to the merchant he described the expensive stone by pointing out all its fine technical features. The merchant listened and praised the stone but turned away and said, “It’s a wonderful stone but not exactly what I wanted.”
Winston, who had been watching the presentation from a distance, stopped the merchant and asked, “Do you mind if I show you the diamond once again?” The merchant agreed and Winston presented the same stone. But instead of talking about the technical features of the stone, Winston spoke spontaneously about his own genuine admiration of the diamond and what a rare thing of beauty it was. Abruptly, the customer changed his mind and bought the diamond.
While he as waiting for the diamond to be packaged and brought to him, the merchant turned to Winston and asked, “Why did I buy it from you when I had no difficulty saying no to your salesman?”
Winston replied, “The salesman is one of the best men in the business and he knows more about diamonds than I do. I pay him a good salary for what he knows. But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something that I have and he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.”
We have churches full of people who say they know Jesus. They can communicate all the technical information about His life, death, resurrection and soon coming. But something is still missing. The passion and love of “if I must die, I must die!” is not the driving force of their life.
I don’t want to live a moment without that passion…that drive. Do you?