13 Words That Changed My Mind…

Ambition /amˈbiSHən/ is defined as a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. I hate to start anything with the typical …according to Webster’s…; however, I find it necessary to start there this time.

It’s interesting how competitively ambitious our society has become.  Reality competition shows are a staple in the secular and religious communities.  We work hard to achieve what we want by any means. Good or bad, logical or irrational, planned or spontaneous, deleterious or  beneficent, when we set our mind to do something, anything…WE MAKE IT HAPPEN. We have created a culture that is SO self-serving and -gratifying that the concept of a greater good is almost lost…even among church people (lol)…who are the people I know the most about.  

If it doesn’t benefit me, I’m not participating.  If my favorite preacher isn’t there, I’m not going.  If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.  So we enter the rat race and resort to our lower functions – fighting, gossiping, scheming and cheating – just to get ahead in life.

Recently, I picked up A.W. Tozer’s The Purpose of Man: Designed to Worship (I’m literally just starting to read it), and this statement jumped off my iPad and into my spirit:

My ambition is to love God more than any one of my generation.


Whoa. What? Wait.

I had heard of ambitions to become famous or rich or even (occasionally) to help people.  Never had I read or heard words that pricked my heart so severely and changed my thinking so instantly. Only 13 words, but they shifted my paradigm.  Because competition does exist in church, but not on this wise.

my-ambiton-social

I thought about what a different society and even church culture we would create if, instead of competing to fulfill self-serving goals, we pointed our strong desire to achieve something towards how intensely we could reciprocate our love for God.  I say reciprocate, because we honestly don’t have to compete for his love or strive for it.  He has given it to us freely.  But instead of competing for who will get the best parking spot, or gets to be the closest to the leader…instead of spending hours scheming on how to get the promotion or bait that mate (uh-oh)…instead of devoting our goals to revenge or success, what if we set out to love God.

We worship in a church culture that rewards the ambitious and the eager.  Ministers don’t study to empower people to grow closer to God.  Instead, WE practice to be the most charismatic and entertaining, raise the best offering, and garner the most retweets and youtube hits.  Singers don’t pray to write the songs that please God and encourage the people.  No, WE sing to entertain, to prove to other singers how good we are, to earn our honorarium and get spins on the radio.  

SO WHAT! our messages and methods have no standard, forget the fact that our music is dedicated to depression, sounds more like the blues than the hope of the gospel, and is so musically complicated the average worshipper can’t sing along. I digress.

A competitive ministry model has empowered and rewarded those who, by mere will and ambition, outperform others, but my goal is to perfect passion and not performance. The legacy that I leave for future generations may not be that he was the best or won a lot of awards.  They won’t say, “He was ruthless, but we tolerated him because he was talented.” Maybe someone will say that he acted justly, loved mercy and walked humbly before God.

…perfect passion and not performance.


Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart
.
(Psalm 37:4 ESV)

 

My pastor recently challenged us to really think about the phrase To God be the Glory.  Her question to us and my question to you is, when you say that…do you REALLY mean it? I wish you could hear how she says it…lol!

I leave you with another quote from Tozer, “No man has any right to die until he has served his generation.” How have you served your generation?

2 Comments

  1. ShaTonya says:

    THIS IS GREAT!! Much needed word for the church! You never cease to amaze me with your wisdom. Love you sooo much and looking forward to greater for you in God!!!#ProudBestFriend.. #NoCompetition #NoJealousy #NoHating

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