Letter #17: It’s not about the Paper…it’s about the Passion

by Jonathan Haefs

Dear Jonathan,

I remember several points in my seminary career when I was discouraged, my friends were discouraged…or both. Many of us wanted to quit along the way. John-Mark probably more than anyone else…well…he and Jeremy.

As we crammed church history into our heads the day before a test, Jeremy would lament the manner in which our time was being “wasted.” He’d think of all the things we could be doing that would be “more” productive.

To a certain extent I agreed with him, but I knew (and so did he) that what we were doing in those moments wasn’t necessarily meant to bear immediate fruit, but future fruit. I would encourage him to keep on going because we were so close to finishing. His general response was, “J, I don’t want to do something just for a piece of paper…just for a diploma.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

graduation-cap-and-diploma-1024x749It’s not about the paper…it’s about the passion.

In those moments, I had to remind myself that all this work should in some way be stirring up within me a deeper passion for knowing God and making him known. Even as I looked at subjects like church history I knew that the lives of saints past should waken my heart to the wonder of a God who has worked through the lives of his people in all times!

Study can dull the affections of the heart, but only if you let it.  Wind can extinguish a flame…or that same breeze of oxygen, when channeled correctly, may actually serve as fuel. You want your studies to do the latter!

You and your friends are getting closer to the finish line and the paper, that wonderful diploma, is in sight! But…don’t run the race to graduation for the paper. Run it to know Jesus more. When you feel your studies are burdensome, know that there is mostly likely not something wrong with your material, but with your heart.

Jonathan, we have talked a lot about what NOT to cultivate at seminary, but perhaps I should focus more on what you should be cultivating. ZEAL! PASSION! LOVE…for the son of God who loved you and gave himself up for you.

It’s not about the paper…it’s about the passion.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.