“No passion. No point”

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BARRY Hearn is known to sporting fans as a promoter of snooker tournaments, and boxing contests, as well as being chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club.

He is a qualified accountant who moved into property by buying a snooker hall, at the time when television was beginning to make snooker, a game often associated with dingy, seedy halls, into a national obsession. Hearn found his niche in promoting colourful characters such as ‘Hurricane’ Higgins’, Denis Taylor and Jimmy White.

Proficiency at snooker was once seen as the sign of a misspent youth, but under Hearn it became a regular part of the sports fan’s diet.

In a recent radio interview with Joel Taggart, Hearn declared that promoting sporting events was not for him just a canny money-making venture, but the outworking of an inner passion. He only promoted sports about which he was passionate. It was then that he uttered the phrase of my headline, 2No passion. No point”.

The phrase highlights a basic ingredient in any successful life, and it also has spiritual implications. If we are to know God, for instance, we need to be passionate in our quest.

Admittedly, no one by searching can find God, as Job suggested,(Job 11;7), and God can only be known when he chooses to reveal himself. As Jesus said, “No one knows who the Father is, except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10; 22).

Yet the Bible also tells us that God does not reveal himself to the half-hearted. As Jeremiah promised, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29;13)

Likewise, Jesus said that in the service of his kingdom, he demands utter commitment. One of the hard sayings of Jesus states, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14; 26).

That harsh demand is softened when we realise that he is suggesting that love for Him must be so much greater than love for any mortal friend, that the contrast should be as striking as that between love and hate.

The letter to the Laodiceans was the last of the seven letters of the risen Christ contained in the Book of Revelation, chapters 2 ad 3. The Laodiceans were a smug group, living in a prosperous city, and confident in their future. But Jesus compared them to an unpleasant lukewarm beverage, such as we would gladly spit out of our mouths.(Revelation 3; 16).

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, had grasped these spiritual truths. Asked once for the secret of his influence, he remarked, “He (God) has had the whole of me”.

He would have confirmed Barry Hearn’s dictum, “No passion. No point”.