Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’- What are you passionate about? lights your fire? makes you tick?  Everyone is passionate about something. We all have someone or something that we live for, some passion or ideal that drives us on, giving our lives purpose.

What is your master passion? What gets your blood pumping?

If you had to sum up what you actually live for in one or two phrases, what would you say? Maybe you’re waiting for something to happen. Maybe you’re waiting for children to grow up and leave home; or waiting to take that trip you’ve been dreaming about for so long.  Find a husband or wife, and for things to get better. You are Waiting for retirement, or for tomorrow.

The problem with this is that one day you will wake up and realize that you are quite a bit older.

In fact, you will realize that you have more life behind you than you have in front of you. 

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

A Master Passion

The apostle Paul had a master passion in life. In Philippians 1, we discover what that was what he lived for. It is what all believers should live for as well: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (v. 21). When you hear a statement like that, you might be thinking, It is a nice sentiment to say, “To live is Christ,” but I don’t know how practical that is.  But in most cases, I think you will find that those who have been the most heavenly minded actually have been the most earthly good. In fact, if you look at history, you will find that those who have done the most for this world have been the ones who have thought more of the next one.

This is typical of the direction Christians wanting to make an impact on their culture,have taken throughout history.

They have started hospitals, established shelters. reached out to the downtrodden

and the hurting in our world with the gospel of Christ,  not only preaching to them, but also clothing them,  feeding them, and taking care of them. Even today, when a problem develops somewhere in the world such as a famine or natural disaster, it is Christians who are usually leading the way through relief efforts, trying to do something for people in need. I am not aware of any atheistic relief organizations.

So the truth is that if you are truly heavenly minded, then you will be of the greatest earthly good.

When Paul said, “To live is Christ,” he was speaking of the fact that he had an interest in the things of this life. He looked forward to going to be with the Lord, but he recognized that he had a job to do: “But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labour; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two …” (Phil. 1:22–23).

Authentic Christianity Paul had a practical spirituality.

While it’s true that Paul loved Jesus and wanted to live for Him, it is also true that he was utterly human. Without question, he had a holy passion for the things of God. But he did not live in stained glass. He was a real person with the same struggles and passions that we have. We know from reading his life story in the Book of Acts that he had his conflicts. Even Paul got into disagreements with people.

We know that he would get upset at times.

On one occasion when he was standing before the high priest on false charges, he said something to the high priest and was struck in the face. Furious, he told the high priest, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” (Acts 23:3).

That doesn’t sound like turning the other cheek to me it sounds like something I might do.

Yet Paul didn’t sit around with a death wish. I don’t think anyone loved life more than Paul did. He was a practical man. When his life was threatened, he didn’t walk out into the midst of the crowd and say, “Here I am! If you want to kill me, go ahead and do it!” We read in Acts 9 that in Damascus, the believers put him into a basket and lowered him over the city wall at night so he could escape the Jews who were plotting to kill him.

Paul was practical. He wanted to live. But he had his priorities in order. His was a balanced spirituality.

The godliest men and women I have had the privilege of meeting over the years have always impressed me with genuine spirituality. And I can assure you that the godliest people I know are real people. That is what I like about them. They love God. Their priorities are in order. Yet there is a balance in their lives. Theirs is a practical faith, not a strange, unattainable kind of spirituality. It is this real faith that the Bible proclaims.

When Paul said, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain,”

he was not speaking of an elite spirituality that could be experienced only by him or by the first-century Christians. He was speaking of an experience, a lifestyle that should, quite literally, be the norm for every follower of Jesus Christ throughout history, from his day to ours. I think we could safely assume that for many, if not most of the first-century believers, their motto for a living was the same as Paul’s: to live is Christ. There were no social advantages to being a Christian in those days.

In fact, you could lose your very life as a result.

Yet the way they impacted their culture is nothing short of breathtaking. The first-century Christians did not outargue the pagans; they outlived them.

However, it seems to me that the Christianity of the New Testament

first-century Christianity indeed differs from the Christianity of today.

I think that is because we as a contemporary church have strayed from God’s original intent to a large degree.
It is worth noting that the Christians of the first century made no attempts to conquer paganism and dead Judaism by reacting blow-by-blow. Instead, the early believers out thought out prayed and outlived the unbelievers.

Their weapons were positive, not negative.

They did not conduct protests or organize boycotts. They did not put on campaigns in an attempt to unseat the Roman emperors. But they did pray, preach, and proclaim the message of Christ. And to a large degree, they won over a good portion of their culture. The first-century Christians, like Paul, could say, “To live is Christ.” If we would say the same thing, we could impact our culture today in a much more effective way.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

To Live Is…! We all live for something. We all can say, “To live is … ” For some, to live is business.

For others, to live is fun. You fill in the blank. But everyone lives for something. Some would say, “To live is … to just live.” In fact, their motto for life might be, “Live and let live.” They just live to gratify their impulses. Paul describes people like this as having their appetites as their god (see Phil. 3:19). They just live for the moment. If they want to do something, they just do it.

They don’t contemplate the meaning of life,

why they are here, or where they are going, don’t care about things like that,  want to get into any discussion about life and its meaning, because it makes them uncomfortable.

They just want to keep the conversation light; just live to live.

This describes a lot of people today.

Then others would say, “For me, to live is a pleasure. I live for fun. I live for the weekend.” They may live for a certain sport or hobby that isn’t necessarily sinful. It could be a relatively innocent activity that has been raised from the level of something they do to something that controls them.

A lot of people are very passionate about sports.

For them, to live is football. When it’s football season, just try to pry them out of their recliner or grab their remote control. They are going to live, eat, and drink football. They are passionate about it. For someone else, it might be golf. For another, it might be surfing or snowboarding. Whatever it may be, the common denominator is a pleasure. When they do the thing they are passionate about, it gives them pleasure.

Then some live for sinful pleasure.

Maybe it is sexual immorality or some other thing they try to derive pleasure from. The Bible warns that if we do this, we will pay a price for it. Paul issued this warning: “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Another might say, “I don’t live for pleasure; I live to acquire possessions.” Their motto in life would be, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.”

The idea is to just get more and more stuff. King Solomon, a man of incredible wealth,

shared his thoughts about this in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He said, Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labour; and this was my reward from all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labour in which I had toiled, and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Eccl. 2:10–11 NIV)

Someone else might say, “I am not into just living.

I am not into the pursuit of pleasure or the acquiring of possessions.

“For me,” they would say, “to live is to acquire knowledge. To live is to get a good education and expand my mind.” Certainly, that is a more noble pursuit than the mere chasing after pleasures or possessions. It is good to pursue knowledge. It is great to get a fine education. But if in the process of doing that you leave out God, it will be an empty search, leading to a dead end.

Solomon had attained greatness.

He gained more wisdom than all who were before him. But he said, “And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Eccl. 1:17–18). Solomon was commenting on the fact that if you pursue knowledge and leave out God, it is an empty search.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

A Single Focus

Maybe you’re thinking, Well, Greg, none of this sounds like me. I don’t live for possessions. I don’t live for pleasure; don’t even live for knowledge, peers;  live for Christ. And I don’t doubt your sincerity in that statement. You might be actively involved in your church or attend every week and even go to midweek studies; and you might go to prayer meetings; and you might be involved in sharing the gospel. But here is something to consider: it is possible to do those things and lose sight of your main objective. Maybe a more accurate statement would be, “To live is service,” or “To live is going to church,” or “To live is preaching the gospel.”

Paul said, “To live is Christ.” Preaching the gospel is obviously important.

Serving the Lord is essential. But these things should be an outgrowth of living for Christ. Sometimes we get so involved with our schedules that we forget about Christ. We substitute work for worship and perspiration for inspiration. You may be surprised to know that those who are in Christian service are in greater danger of falling into this trap than almost anyone else.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

But what does that mean?

For Paul, it meant that he was passionately committed to the Lord. He said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14 NIV). This was a man who knew where he was going.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

Formerly a leading Pharisee and a member of the elite Sanhedrin, Paul had his taste of pleasure and power and the empty pursuit of knowledge. Looking back on all that, he said, But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Phil. 3:7–8 NIV)

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

Paul essentially was saying, “I have accomplished a lot.

All of that power, all of that prestige, all of that education I once valued so highly means nothing to me now, because it actually was keeping me from Christ. It is refuse. It is rubbish. All that matters to me is Jesus.” Paul never lost sight of the encounter he had with the Lord on the Damascus Road.

The great apostle Paul once was the wicked Saul of Tarsus.

As a member of the Sanhedrin, he presided over the death of Stephen, the courageous young man who laid down his life for the gospel. Saul hunted down and arrested Christians wherever he found them, believing that he was doing the work of God in the process. So imagine his surprise when on the Damascus Road, he met none other than the risen Christ. You might say that Paul spent the rest of his life discovering who Jesus was and what He wanted him to do.

This was a man who could honestly say, “To live is Christ.”

The Reality of Mortality

Only the man or woman who can say, “To live is Christ,” can also say, as Paul said, “To die is gain.” Death is a subject many people are uncomfortable with. They don’t like to deal with it. They like to pretend it will never happen, but indeed it will.
When Merry Strip celebrated her 50th birthday, she commented, “All I want is more time. That’s what I want, and nobody can give me that as a present, all wrapped up with a ribbon.” On her deathbed, Elizabeth I, Queen of England, said, “All my possessions for a moment.” But that royal request was not granted, because even queens die.

No one can give us more time, and we don’t know when our lives will end.

Medical science attempts to add years to our lives, but only Jesus Christ can add life to our years and give us a life that is worth living. Only Jesus Christ can give us the guaranteed hope that when we die, we will immediately go into His presence.

Paul recognized that being with Christ was a certainty.

It was a part of life not the conclusion of it; the beginning not an ending. This is the life on a far greater and better level. It was a promotion. A coronation. A reward. He said, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil. 1:22–23 NIV). In the original language, the word Paul used for “depart” is an interesting one. It could be translated, “to break camp” or “to strike the tent.”

I am not a major fan of camping. I like it for a few hours.

But I enjoy the comforts of home even more.

I like clean clothes and that thing called the shower. Some people just love camping, however. They want to get out there in nature, lie in the dirt, build the fire, and kill the food. I like to break camp.

That is good news for me because it means I amount there.

Paul was saying, “I am ready to break camp. I am ready to pull up the stakes for this old tent.” Writing to the church at Corinth on the subject of death, Paul said, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). I find it interesting that the Bible compares our bodies to a tent. It’s a good illustration because tents are a temporary residence, not a permanent home. Tents get old, wear out, and wrinkle just like our bodies do.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

The Hope of Heaven

Another meaning behind this word “depart” is the idea of untying a boat from its moorings and setting sail. Whether or not you are happy about setting sail really depends on where you are going. Imagine that you have a friend named John who is going on a trip. He will be boarding a freighter to outer Siberia in the middle of winter. You go down to the dock and wave goodbye to John, who is bundled up in all his clothes.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

You are thinking to yourself,

Poor John. I feel so sorry for him. It will be tough there in outer Siberia. But let’s say that instead of a freighter, John was going on a boat, and it was a cruise ship to Tahiti. As you stand on the dock waving goodbye to John, you are thinking, Poor me. I am still here, but John is going to Tahiti.

Book Summary in English ‘A Worthwhile Passion’

That is the picture Paul was painting when he said, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” Paul was saying, “I am setting sail. I am going to a better place.” But it is a place much better than Tahiti. Paul was going to heaven to be with Christ. Paul wasn’t necessarily in a rush to get there. But he knew it was a better place to be. It is like the little boy who was listening to his pastor preaching about going to heaven.


A Worth while Passion (Hindi)