By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
I think it is a difficult thing to be ambitious in the current cultural climate. All that we want to do… we don’t get to do… and all that we don’t want to do… others are insisting we must! 2021 hasn’t brought me much change to my living and working and being free to move about the country. It feels more like 2020.5. All ambition considered and all ambition aside… it seems we are still playing a waiting game. But… remember… it is always in the waiting and always over time that ambition finds its way.
When we are young, we are often asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And you know what the children say… ”a doctor,” “a firefighter,” “an astronaut,” and sometimes even “a big-league ball player.” I don’t recall ever a child telling me that they wanted to grow up to be a street vendor or one who tends the tilt-a-whirl at the traveling carnival or the guy who drives the truck to sweep the streets. It seems ambition comes with a price.
Throughout history we’ve been an ambitious people… on the move… expanding our horizons and our knowledge of the world… to say nothing of learning more about ourselves along the way. The invention of the wheel to enhance travel, perfecting the sailing ship using the sextant and maps to conquer the oceans, and forging girders made of steel to connect bricks and concrete in building cities for this and the next generation are just a few examples of humanity’s ambitious accomplishments. We have been to the moon and back, after all, and there are some circling the earth even today!
And then something must be said about the weapons… the tools of the insecure, untrusting and uncompassionate… the guns, ammunition and bombs that can blow us all up 100 times over attempting to secure and protect any and all of our seemingly selfish ambition-fulfilling acquisitions and accomplishments. And in America, at least, our ambition has come with a price, too. We have the highest rates of cancer, suicide, murder, and hypertension compared to other parts of what we call the planet’s lesser nations. Jesus did point that out as Luke reported in his gospel… “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.” (Luke 9:25). It’s like the interview with God an internet story proclaims, “we ignore our health to make money and then spend our money on regaining our health.” That seems much more foolish than ambitious, but that’s how many of us think it works. Faith matters. It truly does!
God, however, seems to be a lot less ambitious… working hard but saying it’s important to rest and that the image of our ambition ought to be a simple thing… to love God with all our heart, strength and mind and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. That’s what St. Paul pointed out to his friends at Philippi… “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4). It worked for Jesus and still works today. Think about that… it’s really the best kind of ambition… and as folks do… their ambition becomes contagious!
Do you consider yourself ambitious for God? How about your friends? What has been the price applied to your ambitions? Theirs? Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf suggested this… “I have but one passion – it is Jesus, it is Jesus alone. The world is the field, and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in telling others of Christ.” It’s still early 2021. May your ambition be good for all!
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. You can read more following his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Comments and / or questions can be sent to [email protected].