And so finally, here is the final installment for the 5-part Peter’s Passion series. This is probably one of the biggest mindset to be broken about pursuing our passion, career, our dreams, businesses and what-have-yous.
I have had several conversations with friends about what their vision is- in their business or in the career path they chose. Almost 90% always give me a personal achievement as their vision. Some envision to have their business be the top seller of a certain product, most aims to be one of the best in their chosen career path, some to make money and buy the things they like. I have always said this, and I will say this again, there is nothing wrong with all of these. I am one with you, I am also dreaming about all of these things.
But there is something with this conversation between Peter and Jesus that helped me change my mindset about pursuing my passion:
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” [John 21:18-19. NIV]
When you were a young man pursuing what you like- nobody tells you what to do. You see an opportunity and you go for it! You just seem to be so much in control of your dreams.
When you are old enough to realize that there are things bigger than yourself, you start to become aware of other people. Your passion soon started to shift its focus, from being centered to you, to others. It seems there is a deeper calling, almost divine, that steers you into making better decisions. It’s not anymore what makes you happier, richer and more powerful. It’s something else.
I think that Jesus was challenging Peter to reach this kind of “maturity” in his passion to follow Him. But what struck me the most is the last verse- which talks about death. Peter’s death.
Peter followed his passion, devoted his life into attaining goals, simply to…die? I mean, we will all die anyway, but why did Jesus had this in mind when the context of the discussion was about Peter following Him.
It dawned on me…Peter’s passion wasn’t about himself! It wasn’t about what he will get or achieve. It wasn’t about the many miracles he would do in the future through Christ- because in the end of his “passion story” he dies a death that would forever point back to Jesus. To glorify Him. Some say Peter was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the same way Jesus did, but regardless to the truth of this or not, I believe that Peter died for his passion. Because in the end, he knew, it wasn’t about himself anymore.
This is when stories of other people begin to matter to us. This is when you realize that in the end, your passion was NEVER about you and it will never be- it will always be pointing back to your Maker the one who made you for a purpose- and unless you transcend to this level of understanding, your pursuit will be like chasing the wind, unending and never really satisfied.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV]
Yes, because if your passion is always about you and your gains- indeed, everything is meaningless.
death, Ecclesiastes 2:11, in the end, John 21:18-19, passion